I have chronic foot pain that I can usually manage through lifestyle adjustments. I use orthotics in my shoes, which have thick, cushioned soles. I never walk barefoot or stand for more than a few minutes at a time. But sometimes my metatarsalgia gets the best of me and I need to stay off my feet for a while.
What is metatarsalgia, you ask? This tongue twister refers to various painful foot conditions, including, bursitis, arthritis, sesamoiditis, Morton's neuroma, calluses, and dropped metatarsal heads. Whether you call it metatarsalgia or forefoot pain, it makes walking a painful experience for millions of people.
Each time you take a step, the ball of your foot bears all your weight for a short moment. If you are carrying a heavy object or if you run or jump, the force on the balls of your feet increases. In fact, when you run, the pressure on your weight can be three to four times your actual body weight.
You can take fairly simple measures to help prevent or lessen forefoot pain:
1. Wear shoes with heels no higher than one inch. The higher the heel, the more weight fall on the balls of your feet.
2. Don't walk barefoot.
3. Wear shoes with thick, cushioned soles to protect your feet and absorb shock.
4. Use custom-made orthotics in your shoes. Custom-made orthotics support and gently reposition the heel, arch, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones in your feet. Orthotics also help elevate dropped metatarsal heads. They also provide cushioning that helps protect the bones in the feet.
Custom-made orthotics are made from molds of your feet, so they fit you perfectly, unlike over-the-counter inserts. And they can be made to fit any type of shoes, from dress shoes to running shoes. Made from comfortable thermoplastic materials, custom-made orthotics typically last for years.
5. Consider wearing metatarsal pads made from felt, foam, or gel. Metatarsal pads raise metatarsal heads to their normal level, rebalancing the forefoot and helping to reduce pain. They also protect calluses, bony prominences, and tender skin and reduce friction and skin irritations. Pre-cut metatarsal pads are very comfortable and flexible.
Other causes of foot pain
Although it's very common, metatarsalgia isn't the only cause of foot pain. Plantar fasciitis causes sharp pain in the arch and/or heel immediately upon standing after a period rest. It can be especially painful when you take your first steps in the morning.
Heel spurs have symptoms similar to plantar fasciitis, but the pain is usually worst on the bottom of the heel.
Bruised toes and damaged toenails can be very painful and may require medical treatment, especially if you have diabetes, a compromised immune system, or poor circulation. If you have profuse bleeding, the toe turns pale or blue, or the toe is painful to the touch, you must see a doctor immediately.
Foot pain and back pain
Even though more than half the length of the body separates them, the feet and the low back are intimately connected. Sometimes what appears to be foot pain may originate in the back and vice versa. It's important to consider your entire body when you think about causes of and treatment for pain.
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Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies.
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