Health Beat with Dr. Alicia Arnold: Foot Pain

Lindsay: With summer in full swing, many people are constantly on the go to different activities. Busy days of running around can bring up the topic of foot pain. Today we are going to talk about some causes of foot pain. I’m sure many women are wondering, how bad are high heels for you?

Dr. Arnold: They can cause uneven pressure to be applied to feet, knees, and back. You also have a higher risk of falling since many women have trouble balancing in stilettos. They may also increase the chance for foot problems like bunions and a painful bump along the back of the heel sometimes called pump bump.

Lindsay: What about other types of shoes like flip-flops?

Dr. Arnold: Some people may be surprised to hear that our flip-flops can also cause foot pain since your toes have to grip the flip-flop to keep it on your foot. There is no arch or ankle support. A similar situation can occur with ballet flat style shoes. A painful condition called plantar fasciitis may also be a risk with these style shoes.

Lindsay: So what styles are better choices for foot health?

Dr. Arnold: Some things that may help your feet include a low heel height, usually less than one or two inches, and lots of cushioning and support. Make sure there is plenty of room for your toes to eliminate crowding.

Lindsay: What kind of foot problems can develop from improperly fitting shoes?

Dr. Arnold: Not having enough room for toes can contribute to the formation of bunions. These can form when there is abnormal bone growth at the base of the big toe and the big toe turns inward and the joint area can become inflamed and painful. A hammertoe, a condition where there is an abnormal bend to a toe joint, can occur and may result in pain. Corns and calluses can form because of improper pressure on your feet.

Lindsay: We sometimes hear about people with diabetes having foot problems. Are there special concerns for those with diabetes?

Dr. Arnold: Individuals with diabetes may have nerve problems that make it more difficult for them to feel injuries in their feet. It is especially important that these individuals have properly fitting shoes to minimize the risk of damage to their feet. Also, diabetes can make it more difficult for wounds to heal, so blisters or scrapes on their feet can progress into larger problems.

Lindsay: If changing shoe styles doesn’t help, what could viewers do to help with foot pain?

Dr. Arnold: Besides changing shoe style, make sure you are wearing the right size. Many women wear shoes that are too small. A podiatrist is a foot specialist who can evaluate your foot pain and prescribe treatment. Specialized shoe inserts called orthotics may help. Medications may help with the inflammation and surgery may help some conditions as a last resort.


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