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Big feet, small feet, pretty feet, ugly feet, flat feet, high arched feet, crooked feet, sensitive feet, dead feet.

This is not Dr. Seuss or Steve Martin.  These are your feet.  Everyone talks about their feet differently, but they do serve a very important function in your life.  You need them to stand and walk!

You need to take care of them, because you use them everyday.  Feet can wear out.  That’s right just like an engine or your favorite pair of skinny jeans.  Some people have great genetics and their feet never give them a bit of trouble.  But, many people will have problems of plantar fasciitis or bunions.  How do we get them? Shear stresses in the foot will cause these problems.

First, let’s talk about plantar fasciitis.  The definition is inflammation of the fascia (a thick fibrous material) that is on the underside of your foot, the part you walk on.  If the architecture of your foot is falling down, shear forces in the foot will repetitively stretch the plantar fascia every time you take a step.  This repetitive micro-trauma causes tearing in the fascia, then bleeding and then inflammation.  Continued inflammation causes the pain and swelling deep in the heel.

It hurts the most after you have been resting and you try to get up and walk.  The inflammation has been stagnant in the tissue and your body is laying down scar tissue while you rest and then you get up and stretch it and ouch!

So, how do we get rid of it?  Finding the source of the problem is the first step in relieving the pain.  Flat arches, excessive forces on the heel, a long or short leg, limited tissue length, shoe type and walking surfaces are all factors.  You need a full lower extremity biomechanical assessment to determine where you can make changes to reduce heel pain.  A physical therapist can assess these issues and help you find a solution to your problem.  Orthotics are often used to reduce shear stresses in the foot that will eventually alleviate heel pain.

Bunions are also called hallux valgus.  The big toe slowly angles towards you second toe stretching out the ligaments and joint capsule on the inner portion of your big toe.  Your body tries to compensate for this by laying  down extra bone to reduce the forces placed on your big toe and subsequently you get a bunion, maybe some bursitis and an inflamed hot great toe joint.  Why does this happen?  The great or big toe has significant force placed on it when you walk.  Shear stresses across this large joint can wear down the bones and cartilage.  Bad shoes, too tigh of shoes, high heels and limited mobility in the great toe are all factors in creating bunions.  Corrective shoe wear, shoes with large toe boxes and good mobility in the joint may help reduce the stresses and, therefore, help you walk painfree.  Again, orthotics can be very helpful for bunion problems.

It is no fun to walk on paingil feet.  Take care of your feet, have them evaluated and treated by a professional and wear good supportive shoes.  Your feet need to last you a lifetime.  Ifyou would like to learn more or inquire about custom orthotics, click below.