Foot Inflammation is the body’s attempt to fend off foreign, invasive objects, including bacteria or viruses. In other words, inflammation is an immunological response to remove potentially harmful foreign stimuli and to heal the site of invasion.
Inflammation often begins with irritation, and is then followed by suppuration (pus discharge). Then there is the granulation stage – the formation in wounds of tiny, rounded masses of tissue during healing.
Symptoms of inflammation include redness, swelling, pain, localized stiffness, and loss of functions. These symptoms may not often be concurrently present. Inflammation may also cause flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, fatigue or lethargy, headache, loss of appetite, and muscle stiffness.
Common Causes of Foot Inflammation
Foot inflammation is caused by injury, overuse, or other conditions causing inflammation of the bones, ligaments, or tendons in the foot. A list of common causes for foot pain can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Achilles tendinitis
- Bone spurs
- Broken ankle/broken foot
- Corns and calluses
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Hammertoe and mallet toe
- High heels or poor-fitting shoes
- Ingrown toenails
- Paget’s disease of bone
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Plantar fasciitis
- Plantar warts
- Stress fractures
Preventing Foot Inflammation
As necessary and inevitable as it is that we rely on our feet for mobility to engage in daily activities, there are many ways in which we can care for our feet so they continue to support us without causing us pain:
- Maintain a healthy weight: As the weight-bearer of the body, the more weight our feet have to support, the more stress they are put under. As little as 20 extra pounds on your body will change the way your feet function, increase the stress on your feet, and possibly trigger pain. If foot pain occurs during exercise, try switching to a low-impact sport such as swimming.
- Boost flexibility: Stretch the calf muscles on a regular basis, as they tend to tighten as you age, thus putting extra stress on your feet. Try the following calf-stretching exercise three times a day:
- Stand with your toes on a step with your heels of the edge.
- Slowly lower your heels and hold for 10 seconds; lift your heels to the starting position.
- Repeat five to 10 times.
- Do not force your heel farther than what feels comfortable. Complete the exercise one foot at a time if necessary.
- Avoiding high-heels: Wearing high-heels shortens calf-muscles and increases the likelihood of experiencing back pain. One study found that it takes only 66 minutes of wearing heels for the pain to kick in. Moreover, forcing your feet into pointy-toed heels can cause foot ailments such as ingrown toenails, bunions, blisters, and deformed toes.
- Ensure a comfortable fit: Feet change in shape in size as you age, so it is important to have your feet measured before you purchase a new pair of shoes. In addition, it is common to have feet of different size; therefore, be sure to have both feet measured and buy the size that fits the larger foot. Before purchase, also make sure there is about half an inch of wriggle room between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Shop for shoes in the afternoon when your feet are usually at their largest, and wear the socks you would normally wear with the particular type of shoes.
- Take seated breaks: If you need to be on your feet most of the day, try to take seated breaks during which your feet can rejuvenate.
- Trim your toenails with care: Ingrown toenails are a common source of foot pain. Cut your toenails straight across; do not cut around the corners to match the shape of your toe.
- Stay hydrated: Dehydration can cause foot cramps, which can come on suddenly and cause sharp, debilitating pains. Drinking plenty of fluids, and eating food rich in potassium such as bananas and spinach will minimize the risk of experiencing foot cramps.
If you’ve taken the above steps and find that your foot inflammation is not alleviating itself, be sure to get in contact with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie today.