Walking around with sore feet is about as fun as losing big at the Craps table, but you don’t have to roll the dice and hope for a better outcome. That’s because having feet without pain isn't just a happy accident—it’s about making conscious, appropriate decisions that protect your foot health.
Sometimes, it can seem like you’re ‘lucky’ enough to get away with risky foot behavior. But just like a win at the slots, that luck is almost always short-lived. If you don’t protect your feet when you’re younger, those poor choices will eventually catch up with you. In fact, as you get older, your feet and body become less forgiving. What does that mean? Not only will old errors come back to haunt you, but new mistakes will translate to major problems. So, instead of having a brief but uncomfortable bout with foot pain, you’ll start facing chronic or recurring issues. Let’s take a closer look at the mistakes that take you to that point, so I can help you steer clear and avoid getting ‘unlucky.’
Are You Betting Against Your Feet?
Sometimes, the worst mistake to make with your feet is simply ignoring your genetic footprint. If your parents or grandparents had bunions, your risk of developing these bony outgrowths is automatically higher. Pretend that’s not the case, and you may miss the early signs of a problem, when your bones first move out of alignment. But, if you watch your feet carefully, and avoid increasing your risk by making proper shoe choices, you may avoid bunions altogether. At the very least, you’re likely to intervene early in the process, which means non-invasive treatments will be effective, and surgery may turn out to be avoidable.
Now, about those shoe choices. I know that you know what not to put on your feet. Surely, you’ve heard that high heels and pointy-toed stilettos will cause long-term, if not instantaneous, foot pain. Heck, you may even have caught my blog post on the most popular flats, and learned the take-home message that this style is not meant for all-day walk-and-wears. But, in case you’ve been hiding those feet under a rock, I want you to remember: even if wearing the wrong shoes doesn’t hurt your feet right away, that bad habit will catch up with you in the long-run. Take my word for it.
One other thing I need you to really hear from me? Let’s talk exercise. I want and encourage you to get your sweat on, especially if you’re a runner like me. But, I want you to work out wisely. Don’t run every single day. Try other forms of exercise to give your feet a break. And consider strength training to build up the muscles that support those runs. Most importantly, don’t push through pain that sticks around even after you’ve finished a run. Discomfort when training is one of your body’s best warning signals: that’s its way of calling for help. Ignore that call, and a small stress injury could become a major problem. One that takes you out of the game for an extended period. So be smart and sit down for a day or two if you notice pain when you train.
Of course, sometimes, simply resting your feet isn’t sufficient. If foot pain hasn’t resolved after a day or two of rest, chances are it won’t get better without intervention from your podiatrist. And, if that’s the case, please don’t procrastinate. The sooner you get into our Elmhurst podiatry practice, the faster and easier your healing process is likely to be.
Early Intervention—Podiatry’s Answer to Card-Counting
When you hit the casino, wise gamblers can help improve their odds of winning. But when it comes to protecting your feet, you don’t need to play games to beat the injury odds. So, how can you get lucky and keep your feet walking comfortably?
Thankfully, the process is less complicated than you might imagine. Come into the office quickly and I’ll have a whole host of treatment options available to help you.
Let’s say you’re dealing with Achilles tendinitis (an inflammation of the tendon that connects the calf muscles in your legs to your heel bones.) This injury is common among runners, and can become quite debilitating if allowed to progress unchecked. But, if you come into the office as soon as your heels start hurting, I can begin your treatment conservatively. In fact, I might be able to clear up your problem with a prescription for custom orthotics, the conservative treatment with the greatest potential to reduce tendinitis recurrences.
This is also true of treating other conditions, including plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the thick connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot) and even stress fractures. With early intervention, and a short rest period, we could clear up your foot pain using custom orthotics, along with ice and a few over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, which assists in allowing the area to heal and therefore provides pain relief. Keeping your feet comfortable truly can be that easy—as long as you follow my guidelines and don’t just hope for a lucky break.
So, in short, you don’t need a four-leaf clover in order to keep your feet performing and feeling their best. Rather, the formula is fairly simple: if you are good to your feet, they will be good to you. That is especially true in cases where you have developed foot pain that seemingly 'came on out of nowhere.' If you’re being honest with yourself, you’ll know it’s more likely that this sudden foot problem is the result of years of hoping for the best while allowing the worst to develop.
So, stop hoping for foot luck while stacking the cards against yourself. Support your feet and their unique quirks. Never ignore foot pain. Seek treatment when rest doesn’t resolve a problem. And never hope for luck when it comes to your feet—instead, vow to make your own luck through smart foot decisions!