Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Don't Let Foot Pain Sidetrack your New Year's Resolutions

How often do you hear resolutions that sound like this; "I want to be healthier, I want to lose weight, I want to start exercising more, I want to start taking better care of myself." All of those are great but it can be difficult to keep these resolutions. Many of these resolutions include starting an exercise regiment. It is important to follow these simple tips to prevent injuring yourself and keep on track with your New Year's goals. Common foot problems such as plantar fasciitis or heel pain can occur after starting an exercise program. Here are some tips to prevent heel pain.

Proper stretching before and after the activity planned is essential to prevent heel pain or strains/ sprains. Stretches should include stretching of the achilles, hamstrings and lower back stretches.

Wearing good supportive shoes that are designed for the sport or activity you are performing. For example, a hiking shoe is not appropriate for running. Each sport has specific designs incorporated into the shoe based on the support the feet need during the particular activity.  Aerobic shoes have greater side support to account for the repetitive side to side motion.  Running shoes need to be light weight and cushioned to help absorb the forces of running on the feet and legs. Running shoes have become very sophisticated and can help even correct some foot problems. The shoes can help limit pronation (a flattening of the arch), or supination (a higher arched foot), or maintain a neutral position. It is important to get the appropriate correction in your shoes or you may injury yourself. Understand that the arch height is determined when you stand on your foot. Quite often patients tell me that they have a high arch but once they stand up it is obvious they have an arch that is collapsing.  Have a trained professional evaluate your arch before spending money on shoes that may not be appropriate.

If you have pain that last more than 5 days and is not responding to rest or ice, you should call your podiatrist. Your goals to become healthy this year should not be sabotaged by foot pain.

Dr. "Sandie" Grulke