Selecting The Correct Footwear Helps You To Step Onward With Confidence While Staying In Good Health

What makes a pair of shoes look good may be a matter of taste, however footwear that provides support for the general health of your entire body can be tough to find. Ill fitting shoes or boots may result in debilitating foot pain. The foot is an intricate system of 100 muscles, 33 joint and twenty six bones that are all linked and foot problems can cause pain in both the knee and back as well. Foot conditions may interfere with mobility and balance relating to the whole body, which is why it is necessary to protect your feet.

Ninety percent of the foot pain that women suffer may be caused by wearing shoes, sandals and clogs that are wrong for their feet. Apart from a shoe which is too small for your feet, there are other things that may make your shoe unsuitable to wear A shoe that forces your toes into a cramped or unnatural position may cause bunions, and the protrusion that results from a bunion makes the foot stick out at the base of the big toe. It may make walking difficult or even impossible if left unchecked. You might like the attractive shape that harsh, pointed-toe shoes can lend you, but your feet might suffer as a result.

Painful and ugly corns., calluses, hammertoes and other foot ailments result in impaired mobility and are due to improper Shoes, sandals and clogs for Style, Comfort and Health. When your toes cannot relax, remaining in an unnatural position may lead to muscle rigidity, and hard skin may form if your toes rub against the interior of your shoes. That constant cramping that you are trying to tolerate could quickly turn into a corn or callus. If the hammertoes condition is ignored for an extended time it may force you out of your poor fitting shoes An evaluation by a medical professional may be your only realistic pain relief option if you wait too long to select comfortable footwear.

Wearing shoes that are too flat or lack proper arch support may lead to fallen arches, and plantar warts may be exacerbated by the wrong type of shoe as well. Walking barefoot may help detecting a number of foot problems even though fallen arches may be evident by looking at your feet. Inwardly growing plantar warts may cause pain when a person steps down. Wearing shoes that are too small can cause heel pain and even pain throughout the lower leg and back area. In desperation to save your sore or swollen heels, you have a chance of damaging your knee joint from walking.

You can exercise your foot muscles or apply ice to reduce the swelling, but to remedy the situation permanently, you need to change the shoes you are wearing. Continuing to wear uncomfortable shoes will not yield good results even with physical therapy or chiropractic treatment. Professional guidance can help to take good care of your feet as well as selecting the proper shoes made to support them.

While foot pain may occur unexpectedly, pain while walking can be prevented. If your shoes do not fit properly around the toe region, or soles, wearing them continuously will possibly be quite a painful error. Part of pampering your feet is buying shoes that fit properly.

Happy Feet Plus carries shoes sandals and clogs which are not only attractive and stylish, but beneficial for your feet and body. Happy Feet offers Birkenstock footwear, Finn Comfort shoes, Mephisto, Dansko, Aetrex, Joya, Birki’s, MBT and Kenkoh reflexology sandals. Happy Feet provides a great selection of shoes sandals and clogs for style, comfort and health at great prices.

Middletown Podiatrist Improves Patient Education With Practice Website

MIDDLETOWN, RI-Foot and Ankle Institute of New England, a leading podiatrist in Middletown and Warwick, RI and Fall River, MA, has recently added patient education materials to the practice’s website. The new patient education library offers a full array of informational articles and resources on topics related to foot and ankle health.

Now when patients have a question related to the health of their feet, they can simply visit this Warwick podiatrist’s site for easy access to an extensive library of foot information, including topics on bunions, ankle sprains, orthotics, joint replacement, diabetic foot, heel pain and flat foot in Fall River. From the library, patients can also find easy links to professional sites including the American Diabetes Association, the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and the American Podiatric Medical Association for additional foot care resources.

“At Foot and Ankle Institute of New England, we have found that the patients who are educated about their feet make the best decisions regarding their foot and ankle health. We want all of our patients to understand the importance of good foot health, so we’ve included a comprehensive patient education library on our website. From heel pain to sports injuries, patients can easily find answers to their questions from our website,” said Dr. Stephen Rogers.

Foot and Ankle Institute of New England is committed to delivering patients the most professional and quality podiatric care possible in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. The practice operates from three convenient office locations- Warwick, Middletown and Fall River. From heel pain relief and flat foot treatment to reconstructive surgery and sports medicine, these qualified and highly skilled Middletown podiatrists are equipped to handle every foot and ankle need.

As patients navigate through the practice’s website for this Warwick, Middletown and Fall River podiatrist, they will find a wealth of information about podiatry, foot and ankle ailments, treatments and technology. Additionally, patients will have easy access to office information, including new patient forms, online appointment requesting, service descriptions, doctor bios and directions to each of the office locations.

Patients searching for treatment for bunions, flat foot or heel pain in Warwick turn to the podiatric professionals at Foot and Ankle Institute of New England for quality foot and ankle care they can trust. This Warwick, Middletown and Fall River podiatrist’s goal to educate patients coupled with years of experience demonstrates the practice’s genuine concern for its patients.

About Foot & Ankle Institute of New England: Foot and Ankle Institute of New England is a group of leading podiatrists in Warwick, Middletown and Fall River. Warwick flat foot and heel pain specialists, Drs. Robert Gallucci, Stephen Rogers, Jonathan Sabourin, Douglas Reid and Courtney Bogart, bring years of experience to the podiatric field and a passion for delivering quality foot and ankle care to every patient they serve. Services include treatment for fungal nails, diabetic wounds, flat foot and heel pain in Middletown, Warwick and Fall River.

The Neuroma: Discussing A Common Foot Problem And How To Treat It

One of the more common causes of foot pain occurs in the ball of the foot. Although many conditions can cause pain at that location, one condition in particular stands out as having a rather unique set of symptoms. This common condition is called a neuroma, and has been the scourge of women and men in tight dress shoes alike, as well as runners.

Symptoms of this condition can include the sensation of a hard or hot pebble in the ball of the foot, as well as burning, tingling, and numbness in the toes immediately beyond the area of pain in the ball of the foot. The part of the foot most commonly involved is the area between the third and fourth toes (with the count starting at the big toe), although the area between the second and third toes is often affected as well. Neuromas can occur in the remaining spaces, although this is far less common. The pain of a neuroma generally begins when pressure is placed on the foot after walking for a short while, and can especially be irritated when tight shoes are worn that squeeze the ball of the foot together. The pain generally worsens as activity increases, such as during running or when one is walking for awhile. Certain shoes can make this pain worse. Given this, many people with a neuroma will find that removing one’s shoes and rubbing often relieves some of the symptoms.

A neuroma is technically inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the nerves that travel between the long bones of the foot towards the toes. These long bones travel from the middle of the arch to the base of the toes. As they near the toes at the front of the long bones, they course under a tight ligament that binds the metatarsal bones to each other. The nerve then splits into two branches, with each branch going to one of the adjacent toes. Several factors can cause nerve inflammation to occur. Many people with a neuroma have either flat feet or high arches. When one has flat feet, the flattening and high flexibility of the feet creates abnormal pressure to the ball of the foot, and the ligament the nerve travels under becomes strained, causing it to gradually irritate the nerve tissue lying below it. When one has high arches, the ball of the foot sustains an unusual amount of pressure and shock for the opposite reason, since the foot does not have enough flexibility. This pressure will eventually cause irritation to the nerve tissue and will result in inflammation. Those with normal foot structure can also develop neuromas depending on activity, shoe use, and the terrain that the activity takes place on.

Technically, a neuroma is not so much an inflammation of the nerve itself but rather the tissue (or sheath) that surrounds the nerve. Also called ‘perineural fibrosis’, it represents a thickening and eventual scarring of the covering of the nerve. The mechanical forces that act on the nerve as described above allow the scarring and inflammation to gradually increase, until the section of the nerve covering that is irritated begins to resemble a small onion wrapped around the nerve. This bulging of the nerve tissue can cause other changes in the foot, such as the sensation of clicking when the ball of the foot is moved around, or even a separation of the toes beyond the neuroma as the mass takes shape and displaces the tissue around it. When shoes are worn that are tighter at the ball of the foot, the side-to-side pressure on the nerve can worsen the pain and cause increased scarring.

Treatment is vital to relieving this condition, as persistent irritation can lead to long term nerve problems. The mainstays of treatment are centered around relieving the inflammatory process and restoring normal pressure to the ball of the foot to reverse the fibrosis around the nerve. Anti-inflammatory measures are often effective and can consist of steroid (cortisone-like) injections directly at the irritated area, as well as oral anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the body’s capability to create inflammation and the old standby technique of icing. Physical therapy can sometimes be helpful if these measures fail, although in this author’s experience the benefit is not very consistent. Some physicians may also inject a diluted alcohol solution into the nerve region to destroy the scar tissue. In very severe cases, the foot may have to be immobilized in a walking boot to help decrease inflammation. To relieve the mechanical pressure causing this condition, prescriptions foot inserts (orthotics) are required, as over-the-counter inserts have too little control over the foot structure. Wider shoes to reduce squeezing on the nerve are absolutely necessary. These control measures are generally required for a lengthy period of time, since one’s foot structure does not generally change.

When all the above treatment attempts fail and the painful neuroma persists, then surgery is required. Many different surgical techniques have been performed to remove or reduce a neuroma. The most common technique involves an actual removal of the inflamed nerve and the branches that split towards the involved toes. Although this results in permanent light numbness at the ball of the foot where the nerve is located as well as the inner sides of the toes the nerve serves, most sufferers of a neuroma will gladly trade the pain for numbness. Healing is usually uneventful, the only major complications being painful fluid temporarily filling the space the nerve occupied, or partial regrowth of the cut ends of the nerve that can cause neuroma-like pain if they are not buried deep enough in the foot to prevent this regrowth from occurring. This condition is called a stump neuroma, and surgeons always take extra steps to prevent this from occurring, resulting usually in a low occurrence rate. Other techniques are available to treat neuromas, depending on surgeon preference. This can include a minimally invasive surgery using a scope to simply release the ligament over the top of the nerve, resulting in decompression of the region around the neuroma. Freezing therapy is also performed by some surgeons to destroy the irritated nerve tissue.

Neuromas are very common, and can be the source of significant pain when left untreated. Despite the common nature of a neuroma, there are other conditions causing pain in the ball of the foot that can be partially similar to that of a neuroma. A foot specialist can easily identify the actual cause of pain. For relief, simple changes in shoes, as well as basic treatment by a foot specialist can usually result in relief without requiring surgery. When the pain persists despite treatment, surgery is required. Fortunately, surgery does have a high rate of success.

Your Picture Of Health: The Top 9 Reasons To Have Your Feet Checked

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, you will take from 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. These steps will carry you many miles every day and over a lifetime may carry you about 115,000 miles (which would span the circumference of the earth four times). With each of these steps and over these miles, you put 1 to 2 times your body weight through your foot. If you run, however, the amount increases to at least 3 to 4 times your body weight. How limited you would be to not be able to walk or run, or to not have feet to carry your through life. Is there anything you can do to facilitate health of your feet and allow them to continue to carry you through life? Let me give you the top 9 reasons a yearly check of your feet will help keep you healthy…

9. The foot is a complex biological masterpiece of 28 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons and an intricate web of nerves and blood vessels. Careful regular evaluation can ensure that these structures work together correctly and prevent injuries

8. At least seventy-five percent of Americans experience foot health problems in their lifetime. By careful, regular evaluation foot and ankle health issues can be prevented similar to regular dental exams preventing tooth decay.

7. “Is the way I walk causing pain elsewhere?” Since the foot attaches to the leg bone(s)…how the foot functions and how you walk may lead to discomfort in the knee, hip, back and even neck. By careful evaluation and adjustment of walking patterns, or specialized inserts called orthotics, pain in other areas of the body may be alleviated.

6. Don’t be sidelined by stress fractures. Many active individuals, whether athlete or just exercising, find the foot or leg starts hurting without known injury. These small “march fractures” as they were known in the military or “stress fractures” as we call them now are caused by overuse and can be prevented by careful evaluation of your feet, how they function and instruction on correct exercise routines.

5. “Do I wear the right shoes?” In a world now made of asphalt, cement and steel, shoes can play a key role in protecting the feet. Correct shoes and correct shoe inserts (whether standard shoe inserts or custom orthotics) can protect your feet while you participate in the activities you enjoy or just the activities you must do for work.

4. Fungus Among Us…A fungus likes moist dark spaces, a perfect description of the foot when found in a shoe. Regular evaluation of the feet can catch (and treat) early signs of fungal toenails, fungal infections of the feet (athlete’s foot) or other infections of the feet (including warts, a virus infection of the foot).

3. “When your feet hurt, your whole body hurts.” As a foot or ankle hurts, you will start to limp or hobble around. This modified “gait” (walking pattern) will cause you to stress other joints, muscles and ligaments in the body causing other pains. As you accomodate, foot pain can lead to pain throughout the body.

2. The foot is a picture of your overall health. Many systemic diseases including diabetes, circulation problems (PVD, atherosclerosis…), nutrition defects and others may present primarily in your feet and ankles. If you catch them early, you can treat or even prevent these problems through lifestyle modification.

1. An active foot is a happy foot. Your ability to remain active in your life may depend on the functioning of your foot. It carries you through life and can improve your overall health by increasing strength, stamina, blood flow and endurance by the simple act of staying active. Optimizing how the foot functions will allow this continued activity.

Having your feet evaluated on a regular basis (at least yearly) will “Optimize What You Were Born With” and let you continue to walk and even run through life.

Pain At The Ball Of The Foot: A Guide To Causes And Treatment Options

Any somewhat active person can commonly develop pain in the ‘ball’ of the foot. This area, usually described as the part of the foot just before where the toes begin, sees a lot of pressure during the walking cycle. When combined with problems with one’s foot structure and foot shape, this pressure can cause pain and other issues. This article will discuss some of these problems, as well as the treatment options available to provide relief from the pain.

Pain in the ball of the foot can be caused by many conditions. The most common condition seen in this part of the foot is a neuroma. A neuroma is defined as an inflammation of the tissue that surrounds one of the nerves that travel between the long bones of the foot towards the toes. It usually affects the nerve in between the third and fourth toe, or less commonly between the second and third toe (with the big toe being considered the first toe for comparison’s sake). Due to a variety of reasons, but especially seen in people with either flat feet or very high arches, this nerve inflammation can cause the sensation of a hard or hot pebble in the ball of the foot, as well as burning, tingling, and numbness in the toes immediately beyond the area of pain in the ball of the foot. Rubbing often relieves some of the symptoms. The pain generally worsens with activity, but is especially irritated when tighter shoes are worn as the shoe material squeezes down on the ball of the foot. Treatment can consist of steroid (cortisone-like) injections to shrink the nerve tissue swelling, as well as anti-inflammatory medications and icing. Custom foot inserts called orthotics can help to relieve the pressure under the foot, and wider shoes reduce squeezing on the nerve. Sometimes surgery is necessary to remove the painful nerve segment.

Other causes of pain in the ball of the foot can include too much pressure to the bones as seen in people with flat feet and in people with very high arches, although there are two very different reasons for this based on these different foot types. In a person with flat feet, as the foot becomes over-flexible and one finishes the part of the walking cycle where foot begins to push off the ground, an increased amount of pressure is present in the ball of the foot over a person with a more normal foot type. In a person with high arches, the pressure to the ball of the foot comes in the form of too much shock from striking the ground, as a higher arched foot is not as flexible and will not flatten enough to absorb this shock. Regardless of the cause, the abnormal pressure to the ball of the foot eventually overwhelms the body’s natural fat pad, and inflammation develops. The bones at this site (the heads of the metatarsal bones) feel more prominent on the ground, and any deformity of the toe (like a hammertoe) also present at the same time can increase this pressure by pushing down on the bone in the ball of the foot even further. Eventually, the tissue that surrounds the joint at the base of the toe will become inflamed (capsulitis), and in more severe cases a tearing of the tissue that supports the bones in the ball of the foot can occur, especially under the second toe. Treated with well padded custom inserts and supportive shoes specific for one’s foot type (stiff shoes for flat feet, soft well-cushioned shoes for high arches), the pain usually can be controlled without surgery and a quick return to activity is possible. At times, surgery is needed to fix the problem. Procedures to lift up or move back the heads of one or more of the metatarsals are usually favored over reconstructing a flat or high arched foot as they are easier to recover from and do a good job at relieving the symptoms. Sometimes the toes need to be surgically straightened as well to reduce the pressure on the metatarsal heads.

Stress fractures (microscopic cracks) of the metatarsal bones can also occur here due to repetitive pressure, and if one has a strong enough injury to the foot a full fracture can occur, where the bone breaks completely. Unless the fully fractured piece has moved out of position, both these types of injuries can be treated with a protective walking boot until healing has taken place. Bones that move out of position too far need surgery to place them back into position and need hardware to keep them stable until healing has occurred, unless they can be moved back into position with external manipulation of the foot and there is enough stability for them to stay in place.

If the pain is under the big toe joint, the cause may be due to inflammation of two small bones called sesamoids instead of the toe joint itself. These egg shaped bones are found in every foot, and can be injured if repetitive stress is applied to them, such as in running or other impact activities. Repeated stress as well as injuries from landing on the foot from a fall can cause a stress fracture or even a full out fracture of one or both of the sesamoids. These bones need a moderate period of rest and de-weighting of the big toe joint, along with icing and anti-inflammatory medications, in order for them to heal properly. Reoccurring cases need specialized inserts to reduce pressure and stress to the bones themselves. At times, when they are resistant to healing, surgery can be considered to remove them. This is often reserved as a last option, as the sesamoids do provide some stability to the big toe and removal of one of them can change the stability to a slight degree.

Finally, it is not uncommon for pain in the ball of the foot to be simply from a painful callus. Calluses are formed when the skin has too much pressure from the ground below it and the bone above inside the foot. The top layer of the skin thickens up to form a sort of armor to protect the skin from this squeezing pressure. When this layer is too thick, or when this tissue grows inward into the skin and not outward away from it, pain can result. Treatment simply involves regular shaving of the skin build-up, either with a pumice stone or emery board at home or with sharp treatment by a podiatrist. Custom inserts to decrease the pressure to the ball of the foot also helps greatly, as well as the selection of properly supportive and properly sized shoes. Surgery to lift the bone up underneath the callus can also be considered if nothing else helps.

As one can seen above and although due to a variety of reasons, pain the ball of the foot is almost always treatable, and simple measures like proper shoe selection and shoe inserts can keep these conditions from returning. Some conditions do require surgery ultimately to relieve the pain, but this is not always the case as non-surgical treatment is quite successful in many cases at this part of the foot.

Your Picture Of Health: The Top 9 Reasons To Have Your Feet Checked

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, you will take from 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. These steps will carry you many miles every day and over a lifetime may carry you about 115,000 miles (which would span the circumference of the earth four times). With each of these steps and over these miles, you put 1 to 2 times your body weight through your foot. If you run, however, the amount increases to at least 3 to 4 times your body weight. How limited you would be to not be able to walk or run, or to not have feet to carry your through life. Is there anything you can do to facilitate health of your feet and allow them to continue to carry you through life? Let me give you the top 9 reasons a yearly check of your feet will help keep you healthy…

9. The foot is a complex biological masterpiece of 28 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons and an intricate web of nerves and blood vessels. Careful regular evaluation can ensure that these structures work together correctly and prevent injuries

8. At least seventy-five percent of Americans experience foot health problems in their lifetime. By careful, regular evaluation foot and ankle health issues can be prevented similar to regular dental exams preventing tooth decay.

7. “Is the way I walk causing pain elsewhere?” Since the foot attaches to the leg bone(s)…how the foot functions and how you walk may lead to discomfort in the knee, hip, back and even neck. By careful evaluation and adjustment of walking patterns, or specialized inserts called orthotics, pain in other areas of the body may be alleviated.

6. Don’t be sidelined by stress fractures. Many active individuals, whether athlete or just exercising, find the foot or leg starts hurting without known injury. These small “march fractures” as they were known in the military or “stress fractures” as we call them now are caused by overuse and can be prevented by careful evaluation of your feet, how they function and instruction on correct exercise routines.

5. “Do I wear the right shoes?” In a world now made of asphalt, cement and steel, shoes can play a key role in protecting the feet. Correct shoes and correct shoe inserts (whether standard shoe inserts or custom orthotics) can protect your feet while you participate in the activities you enjoy or just the activities you must do for work.

4. Fungus Among Us…A fungus likes moist dark spaces, a perfect description of the foot when found in a shoe. Regular evaluation of the feet can catch (and treat) early signs of fungal toenails, fungal infections of the feet (athlete’s foot) or other infections of the feet (including warts, a virus infection of the foot).

3. “When your feet hurt, your whole body hurts.” As a foot or ankle hurts, you will start to limp or hobble around. This modified “gait” (walking pattern) will cause you to stress other joints, muscles and ligaments in the body causing other pains. As you accomodate, foot pain can lead to pain throughout the body.

2. The foot is a picture of your overall health. Many systemic diseases including diabetes, circulation problems (PVD, atherosclerosis…), nutrition defects and others may present primarily in your feet and ankles. If you catch them early, you can treat or even prevent these problems through lifestyle modification.

1. An active foot is a happy foot. Your ability to remain active in your life may depend on the functioning of your foot. It carries you through life and can improve your overall health by increasing strength, stamina, blood flow and endurance by the simple act of staying active. Optimizing how the foot functions will allow this continued activity.

Having your feet evaluated on a regular basis (at least yearly) will “Optimize What You Were Born With” and let you continue to walk and even run through life.

Pain At The Ball Of The Foot: A Guide To Causes And Treatment Options

Any somewhat active person can commonly develop pain in the ‘ball’ of the foot. This area, usually described as the part of the foot just before where the toes begin, sees a lot of pressure during the walking cycle. When combined with problems with one’s foot structure and foot shape, this pressure can cause pain and other issues. This article will discuss some of these problems, as well as the treatment options available to provide relief from the pain.

Pain in the ball of the foot can be caused by many conditions. The most common condition seen in this part of the foot is a neuroma. A neuroma is defined as an inflammation of the tissue that surrounds one of the nerves that travel between the long bones of the foot towards the toes. It usually affects the nerve in between the third and fourth toe, or less commonly between the second and third toe (with the big toe being considered the first toe for comparison’s sake). Due to a variety of reasons, but especially seen in people with either flat feet or very high arches, this nerve inflammation can cause the sensation of a hard or hot pebble in the ball of the foot, as well as burning, tingling, and numbness in the toes immediately beyond the area of pain in the ball of the foot. Rubbing often relieves some of the symptoms. The pain generally worsens with activity, but is especially irritated when tighter shoes are worn as the shoe material squeezes down on the ball of the foot. Treatment can consist of steroid (cortisone-like) injections to shrink the nerve tissue swelling, as well as anti-inflammatory medications and icing. Custom foot inserts called orthotics can help to relieve the pressure under the foot, and wider shoes reduce squeezing on the nerve. Sometimes surgery is necessary to remove the painful nerve segment.

Other causes of pain in the ball of the foot can include too much pressure to the bones as seen in people with flat feet and in people with very high arches, although there are two very different reasons for this based on these different foot types. In a person with flat feet, as the foot becomes over-flexible and one finishes the part of the walking cycle where foot begins to push off the ground, an increased amount of pressure is present in the ball of the foot over a person with a more normal foot type. In a person with high arches, the pressure to the ball of the foot comes in the form of too much shock from striking the ground, as a higher arched foot is not as flexible and will not flatten enough to absorb this shock. Regardless of the cause, the abnormal pressure to the ball of the foot eventually overwhelms the body’s natural fat pad, and inflammation develops. The bones at this site (the heads of the metatarsal bones) feel more prominent on the ground, and any deformity of the toe (like a hammertoe) also present at the same time can increase this pressure by pushing down on the bone in the ball of the foot even further. Eventually, the tissue that surrounds the joint at the base of the toe will become inflamed (capsulitis), and in more severe cases a tearing of the tissue that supports the bones in the ball of the foot can occur, especially under the second toe. Treated with well padded custom inserts and supportive shoes specific for one’s foot type (stiff shoes for flat feet, soft well-cushioned shoes for high arches), the pain usually can be controlled without surgery and a quick return to activity is possible. At times, surgery is needed to fix the problem. Procedures to lift up or move back the heads of one or more of the metatarsals are usually favored over reconstructing a flat or high arched foot as they are easier to recover from and do a good job at relieving the symptoms. Sometimes the toes need to be surgically straightened as well to reduce the pressure on the metatarsal heads.

Stress fractures (microscopic cracks) of the metatarsal bones can also occur here due to repetitive pressure, and if one has a strong enough injury to the foot a full fracture can occur, where the bone breaks completely. Unless the fully fractured piece has moved out of position, both these types of injuries can be treated with a protective walking boot until healing has taken place. Bones that move out of position too far need surgery to place them back into position and need hardware to keep them stable until healing has occurred, unless they can be moved back into position with external manipulation of the foot and there is enough stability for them to stay in place.

If the pain is under the big toe joint, the cause may be due to inflammation of two small bones called sesamoids instead of the toe joint itself. These egg shaped bones are found in every foot, and can be injured if repetitive stress is applied to them, such as in running or other impact activities. Repeated stress as well as injuries from landing on the foot from a fall can cause a stress fracture or even a full out fracture of one or both of the sesamoids. These bones need a moderate period of rest and de-weighting of the big toe joint, along with icing and anti-inflammatory medications, in order for them to heal properly. Reoccurring cases need specialized inserts to reduce pressure and stress to the bones themselves. At times, when they are resistant to healing, surgery can be considered to remove them. This is often reserved as a last option, as the sesamoids do provide some stability to the big toe and removal of one of them can change the stability to a slight degree.

Finally, it is not uncommon for pain in the ball of the foot to be simply from a painful callus. Calluses are formed when the skin has too much pressure from the ground below it and the bone above inside the foot. The top layer of the skin thickens up to form a sort of armor to protect the skin from this squeezing pressure. When this layer is too thick, or when this tissue grows inward into the skin and not outward away from it, pain can result. Treatment simply involves regular shaving of the skin build-up, either with a pumice stone or emery board at home or with sharp treatment by a podiatrist. Custom inserts to decrease the pressure to the ball of the foot also helps greatly, as well as the selection of properly supportive and properly sized shoes. Surgery to lift the bone up underneath the callus can also be considered if nothing else helps.

As one can seen above and although due to a variety of reasons, pain the ball of the foot is almost always treatable, and simple measures like proper shoe selection and shoe inserts can keep these conditions from returning. Some conditions do require surgery ultimately to relieve the pain, but this is not always the case as non-surgical treatment is quite successful in many cases at this part of the foot.

Pain At The Ball Of The Foot: A Guide To Causes And Treatment Options

Any somewhat active person can commonly develop pain in the ‘ball’ of the foot. This area, usually described as the part of the foot just before where the toes begin, sees a lot of pressure during the walking cycle. When combined with problems with one’s foot structure and foot shape, this pressure can cause pain and other issues. This article will discuss some of these problems, as well as the treatment options available to provide relief from the pain.

Pain in the ball of the foot can be caused by many conditions. The most common condition seen in this part of the foot is a neuroma. A neuroma is defined as an inflammation of the tissue that surrounds one of the nerves that travel between the long bones of the foot towards the toes. It usually affects the nerve in between the third and fourth toe, or less commonly between the second and third toe (with the big toe being considered the first toe for comparison’s sake). Due to a variety of reasons, but especially seen in people with either flat feet or very high arches, this nerve inflammation can cause the sensation of a hard or hot pebble in the ball of the foot, as well as burning, tingling, and numbness in the toes immediately beyond the area of pain in the ball of the foot. Rubbing often relieves some of the symptoms. The pain generally worsens with activity, but is especially irritated when tighter shoes are worn as the shoe material squeezes down on the ball of the foot. Treatment can consist of steroid (cortisone-like) injections to shrink the nerve tissue swelling, as well as anti-inflammatory medications and icing. Custom foot inserts called orthotics can help to relieve the pressure under the foot, and wider shoes reduce squeezing on the nerve. Sometimes surgery is necessary to remove the painful nerve segment.

Other causes of pain in the ball of the foot can include too much pressure to the bones as seen in people with flat feet and in people with very high arches, although there are two very different reasons for this based on these different foot types. In a person with flat feet, as the foot becomes over-flexible and one finishes the part of the walking cycle where foot begins to push off the ground, an increased amount of pressure is present in the ball of the foot over a person with a more normal foot type. In a person with high arches, the pressure to the ball of the foot comes in the form of too much shock from striking the ground, as a higher arched foot is not as flexible and will not flatten enough to absorb this shock. Regardless of the cause, the abnormal pressure to the ball of the foot eventually overwhelms the body’s natural fat pad, and inflammation develops. The bones at this site (the heads of the metatarsal bones) feel more prominent on the ground, and any deformity of the toe (like a hammertoe) also present at the same time can increase this pressure by pushing down on the bone in the ball of the foot even further. Eventually, the tissue that surrounds the joint at the base of the toe will become inflamed (capsulitis), and in more severe cases a tearing of the tissue that supports the bones in the ball of the foot can occur, especially under the second toe. Treated with well padded custom inserts and supportive shoes specific for one’s foot type (stiff shoes for flat feet, soft well-cushioned shoes for high arches), the pain usually can be controlled without surgery and a quick return to activity is possible. At times, surgery is needed to fix the problem. Procedures to lift up or move back the heads of one or more of the metatarsals are usually favored over reconstructing a flat or high arched foot as they are easier to recover from and do a good job at relieving the symptoms. Sometimes the toes need to be surgically straightened as well to reduce the pressure on the metatarsal heads.

Stress fractures (microscopic cracks) of the metatarsal bones can also occur here due to repetitive pressure, and if one has a strong enough injury to the foot a full fracture can occur, where the bone breaks completely. Unless the fully fractured piece has moved out of position, both these types of injuries can be treated with a protective walking boot until healing has taken place. Bones that move out of position too far need surgery to place them back into position and need hardware to keep them stable until healing has occurred, unless they can be moved back into position with external manipulation of the foot and there is enough stability for them to stay in place.

If the pain is under the big toe joint, the cause may be due to inflammation of two small bones called sesamoids instead of the toe joint itself. These egg shaped bones are found in every foot, and can be injured if repetitive stress is applied to them, such as in running or other impact activities. Repeated stress as well as injuries from landing on the foot from a fall can cause a stress fracture or even a full out fracture of one or both of the sesamoids. These bones need a moderate period of rest and de-weighting of the big toe joint, along with icing and anti-inflammatory medications, in order for them to heal properly. Reoccurring cases need specialized inserts to reduce pressure and stress to the bones themselves. At times, when they are resistant to healing, surgery can be considered to remove them. This is often reserved as a last option, as the sesamoids do provide some stability to the big toe and removal of one of them can change the stability to a slight degree.

Finally, it is not uncommon for pain in the ball of the foot to be simply from a painful callus. Calluses are formed when the skin has too much pressure from the ground below it and the bone above inside the foot. The top layer of the skin thickens up to form a sort of armor to protect the skin from this squeezing pressure. When this layer is too thick, or when this tissue grows inward into the skin and not outward away from it, pain can result. Treatment simply involves regular shaving of the skin build-up, either with a pumice stone or emery board at home or with sharp treatment by a podiatrist. Custom inserts to decrease the pressure to the ball of the foot also helps greatly, as well as the selection of properly supportive and properly sized shoes. Surgery to lift the bone up underneath the callus can also be considered if nothing else helps.

As one can seen above and although due to a variety of reasons, pain the ball of the foot is almost always treatable, and simple measures like proper shoe selection and shoe inserts can keep these conditions from returning. Some conditions do require surgery ultimately to relieve the pain, but this is not always the case as non-surgical treatment is quite successful in many cases at this part of the foot.