Foot pain, experienced by 75% of Americans at some point in their lives, is only easy to treat if it is obvious where the pain is coming from. A lot of people have suffered from pain in their toenails, and it is easy to determine where the pain is coming from—and just as easily treatable. Unfortunately, many who are suffering from heel pain don't know how or where to find the source. Often the pain may worsen when you get up in the morning, or when you move your foot a certain way, and it could hurt only while bearing weight or only while not standing. If you're in this situation, the best way to prevent and even heal your foot pain is to consult a podiatrist, who specializes in orthotics and foot disorders. Here are some suggestions for how to prevent and relieve heel pain.
Heel pain is often caused by uneven weight distribution. Because you're on your feet most of the time while walking, any pressure on the arch that can result from genetics or stress from work or other activities, is passed on to your heels. But walking and bearing weight place additional stress on your delicate, sensitive tissues which form the outer layer of the skin, called the dermis. For most people, this pressure manifests as ankle or heel pain, the second most common foot and ankle problem in the country. For some people, though, that pain goes unnoticed. It's important to try to see your doctor for treatment, especially if it gets worse.
Heel pain is often caused by flat feet or high arches. High arches sometimes cause the pressure to build up under the arch, causing pain. Custom orthotics are designed to fix this problem, and insoles and arch supports are available to customize footwear to reduce pressure on your feet and ankles. There is an option between full custom orthotics and off the shelf ready-made insoles and that is a moldable orthotic. In the Powerstep catalog, those heat-moldable orthotics are known as ArchMolds.
PowerStep insoles with orthotic arch support can correct many other common foot and ankle problems. They can be used to correct flat feet, too. Orthotic devices consist of cushions, straps, soles, or an insole with arch support, and can even be custom made to the individual's plantar fascia, where the arch supports are found. Some orthotic cushions consist of cork pads or airbags to provide additional cushioning and added stability. Cushioning can be adjusted to various degrees depending on how the wearers' feet move.
There are many different kinds of insoles, such as gel, air, and wool. Many of these are used in athletic shoes, while others can help with pain management. These insoles can be customized to provide extra stability or flexibility. Custom orthotics and other pain relief and prevention products can be purchased directly from manufacturers or at medical supply stores. Some can also be purchased from online websites, including powerstep.com.
Custom orthotics, prescribed and/or suggested by your podiatrist, can be purchased in large sizes to cover large areas of need, or they can be made smaller to be used specifically for specific foot issues. The size that is used will depend on the patient's foot shape, as well as any previous foot pain and/or mobility issues. These specialty insoles can also be used to correct foot issues unique to specific areas, including bunions, corns and calluses, hammertoes and bunionettes, hammer and torsion, and hallux muscles. Many patients find that orthotics are very comfortable and do not cause any negative side effects. Also, if the orthotic has been specially made for one particular area or problem, it is less likely to cause other issues, although special procedures may be needed for some patients.
Bunions and corns are typically caused by uneven wear on the plantar fascia over time, resulting in small tears, inflammation, and eventual bunion or cramp. Sharp pain usually appears after running or walking, or at other activities where the arch may be slightly lifted. A raised arch can be fixed through custom orthotic inserts, or a variety of other options, depending on the patient's individual needs.
Other specialty orthotic devices include toe straighteners and shoe inserts, which can be very helpful for many foot issues. Toe straighteners are simply worn inside your shoe and they keep the toes from becoming misaligned and worsening bunions or calluses. Shoe insoles with orthotic arch supports are a type of device that are made to be placed directly under the foot, with the purpose of creating the perfect surface—for both comfort and support— delivering pain relief and prevention for the entire foot. When these orthotic devices are used in conjunction with a podiatrist's prescription, many foot issues, especially heel pain, can be prevented.