Common foot problems and what to do about them

10 October 2016

It is estimated that more 80 percent of us will experience some kind of problems with our feet during our lifetime, with women nine times more likely to suffer from issues than men. While it would be easy to make a joke about the fact that women are clearly spending more time on their feet than their male counterparts, if any of these are taking the spring out of your step then it’s time to make some changes.

1) Why do my feet burn?
Have you ever felt a sharp, burning pain under the ball of your foot? Then you’re not alone, it’s called Metatarsalgia and it’s the second most common foot complaint after heel pain. While it does affect those of us who wear high heels, because 70 to 80 percent of our body weight is shifted to the balls of the feet when we put them on, people who only opt for flats can experience the condition too, especially if they’re standing for long periods of time. How long the pain lasts can be different for everyone and while it usually goes away after some rest, it can be very painful at the time. This is where the correct cushioning in a shoe comes into play. Properly designed insoles will give the ball of your feet the support it requires.

2) Why are my toes developing lumps?
Known as bunions in your big toes, and hammertoes in your smaller tootsies, the conditions cause joints to become painful, swollen and inflamed. While they can be genetic, one of the biggest causes is ill-fitting footwear. Many of us wear shoes that are too tight, so opting for a wide fit in what is known as ‘the toe box’ (the area which houses your toes) will make a huge difference. You never want to have to crunch your toes up inside a pair of shoes. Correct cushioning and insole support will also help the cause.

3) Why does it feel like I’ve stepped on a stone when I haven’t?
There is nothing more annoying or painful than this foot problem known as Morton’s Neuroma. It causes pain in the ball of the foot that commonly radiates towards your third or fourth toe. High heels can play their part in causing this issue, as can high-impact sports like tennis, running and sometimes even walking. The repetitive nature of pounding on hard surfaces can cause damage to the nerves that lead to the toes. While really serious cases require medical intervention, the pain may be alleviated with orthotics, arch supports and cushioning inside footwear.