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According to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society there should be no pain in the average foot.   So why is it that eight out of ten Americans who were surveyed reported that they have experienced foot pain either from trauma, disease or poorly fitting footwear?

James M. Mahoney, professor of pediatric medicine and surgery at the College of Pediatric Medicine and Surgery at Des Moines University in Des Moines, Iowa explained that “more foot pain is caused by improper shoes. Not necessarily poor fitting shoes but footwear such as flip-flops or sandals without arch support and athletic shoes that do not have enough support to sustain prolonged physical activity.”

Believe it or not if your feet are causing you pain it can be the catalyst of knee pain, back pain and even headaches.

Bunions

Bunions are normally inherited.  As with most foot conditions poor fitting shoes aggravate the symptoms but are rarely the primary cause. If you do suffer with bunions you will know that narrow, pointed shoes can be unbearable, so keeping a wider fit with more of a boxy toe is recommended.  

Toe spacers and inserts will not actually fix a bunion but they can ease pain, so it is worth a try. Anti-inflammatory medicines are often subscribed if the pain gets bad and the only time surgery is recommended is if you literally have no quality of life because of them. 

Heel Pain

Plantar fasciitis is a common ailment when it comes to foot pain, particularly amongst athletes.  Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the base of the toes.  The pain can radiate from the heel up the arch of the foot and beyond and, if left untreated, can be severely intense.  

Regular stretching can be extremely helpful in treating symptoms. One such stretch is to grasp the toes and gently pull them towards your shin so you feel a stretch in the arch.  

Strengthening the arch is also recommended. Try grabbing a cloth off the floor with your toes and dragging it towards you.  Of course the usual rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medicines will also help.

Toenails

If you have very thick yellow toenails you may be suffering with a fungus.  Don’t panic! This can often be successfully treated with over-the-counter topical medications.

If you have ever suffered with an ingrown toenail you will know how painful something so simple can be.  It can often be prevented by trimming toenails straight across and not cutting into the corners.

You should always seek medical advice if the toenail is red, swollen has pus or your are suffering with a fever.