Whenever we are in the standing position, whether walking, running or just standing, the entire pressure exerted by our body is borne by the soles of the feet. Our feet act as shock absorbers as well as a lever and each foot is provided with 26 bones and various ligaments attached to it. Continuous wear and tear can lead to sore soles of the feet as well as any other part of the foot. It can affect the heels, the arch or the curve in the middle of the foot or the balls of the feet. We will look at the common and not so common causes of sore soles of feet.
Most Common Cause of Sore Soles of Feet: Plantar Fasciitis
This is the most common types of pain associated with the heels of the feet. A tissue called plantar fascia is present from the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. There is pain and inflammation of this thick band of tissue, which causes stabbing pain, especially with the first steps taken in the morning.
As the day progresses, the pain subsides, however it can reappear after standing for long duration or getting up from a sitting position. This condition commonly affects runners. People at risk of developing this condition are overweight individuals and people wearing ill-fitting shoes without adequate support.
How to get relief
Given below are some home remedies which can be tried to reduce the painful soles of feet caused due to plantar fasciitis:
a. Healthy weight. Have the ideal body weight, so that it does not over stress the plantar fascia tissue
b. Good shoes. Invest in good footwear with sound support to the arch, shock absorbers and low to medium heels. Avoid wearing high heels and going bare foot on hard surfaces.
c. Change footwear. Wearing worn-out shoes can cause problems. Shoes should be replaced before the cushioning and support is lost. If you are a runner, you should change your shoes after every 500 miles of use.
d. Try new sports. If you are walking or jogging, you should switch to sports which are low impact like swimming or bicycling.
e. Use ice compress. An ice compress should be placed on the painful area of the soles for 15 – 20 minutes, 3 or 4 times in a day. Another way is to get an ice massage. It involves freezing a paper cup filled with water and rolling it on the affected region for 5-7 minutes. Doing this regularly can help relieve the pain and inflammation
f. Stretching. Simple exercises at home can help in stretching the plantar fascia and other muscles like calf muscles and also the Achilles tendon. Doing the toe, calf and towel stretches first thing in the morning and then several times a day can be very helpful. Towel stretches involve pulling on both ends of a rolled towel, which has been placed under the balls of the feet.
Plantar fasciitis stretches & exercises:
Other Causes of Sore Soles of Feet
Causes: Having an abnormal gait, wearing inappropriate shows, having incorrect posture or walking or running styles can cause an abnormal growth in the heel bone at the bottom and is referred to as Heel Spurs. These can be seen in people suffering from plantar fasciitis, however, heel spurs do not cause plantar fasciitis. Individuals who have flat feet or very high arches are more susceptible to suffer from heel spurs and complain that the bottom of my feet hurt.
Symptoms: Besides causing sore soles of feet, heel spurs cause a knife stabbing or pin sticking like pain in the soles, when they first put their feet down in the morning. As the day progresses, it turns to a dull ache. The stabbing pain is felt again after a person stands up after prolonged period of sitting down.
The treatment for heel spurs is as follows:
Heel Pad cutout
Using orthotics or custom made inserts in the shoe
Shoes which fit well and have shock absorbers
Using OTC painkillers
Rest and Physical therapy
Surgery, in rare cases.
Symptoms: This condition is characterized by pain in the front part of the feet. It can be mild to severe and can also occur as burning sensation, aching pain, shooting pain, tingling numbness in the toes. The pain is usually felt in the portion of the feet where the 2nd, 3rd and 4th toes meet the ball of the feet.
Causes: It can be caused by wearing ill-fitting footwear, being overweight or obese, age, flat feet, high arch, playing high impact sports or having a stress fracture in the foot.
Self-care techniques can be helpful in treating metatarsalgia. Some of them are:
RICE which stands for Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevation. Ice pack should be applied, and the area should be bandaged to compress the foot and the foot should be kept elevated.
Taking painkillers, wearing well-fitting footwear, avoiding sports or activities which make the symptoms worse.
Using insoles with shock absorbers and other orthotic supports.
This is a painful condition which affects the balls of the feet. The area between the third and the forth toe and the balls of the feet are commonly affected. It can be described as standing with a pebble in the shoe or with a fold in the sock. Besides causing sore soles of feet, there is a burning sensation in the balls of the feet. It also causes the toes to go numb, feel stinging or burning.
This is caused when the tissue, surrounding the nerves going to the toes, gets thickened. This is seen mostly in individuals wearing high heels. Short heels and wide toed shoes can relieve the symptoms. Sometimes surgery might be required and corticosteroid injections are also helpful.
More Causes of Foot Pain
Some other causes of foot pain or sore soles of feet are as given below:
Arthritis and Gout
Bunions, Calluses and Corn
Broken bones or foot deformity
Hammer toes, Fallen arches and plantar warts
Nerve damage caused due to diabetes
Sprains and stress fractures
A doctor or medical professional should be contacted in the following conditions:
If there is sudden or severe pain in the foot
Injury to the foot which is causing pain, bruising or bleeding and inability to put the foot down
If there is any swelling in the joints, sores or ulcers or redness in the foot, accompanied by fever
If you have a pre-existing condition which affects blood flow or diabetes and have pain in the foot
The pain does not subside after 1-2 weeks of home treatment
Foot Pain can be prevented by following the steps given below:
Wearing comfortable, well-fitting footwear with good support to arch and cushioning
Shoes which have a wide toe box which provides adequate room to the toes and balls of the feet
Wearing sneakers, especially during walking
Ensuring to do warm up and cool down exercises like stretching
Replacing running shoes frequently and avoid wearing high heels
Gradually increase the amount of exercise to avoid straining the feet
Losing weight if required to reduce additional strain on the foot
Perform exercises which help in strengthening the foot and reduce pain