ISSA certified Fitness Trainer
Q1: My feet hurt if I walk for more than twenty minutes. Is that because I am overweight? How can I possibly exercise for more than twenty minutes if my feet keep hurting?
Ans: The foot is a complex structure consisting of 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. One-quarter of all the bones in your body are in your feet, so having to perform strenuous tasks day after day can and often lead to some type of foot problem. It’s not too surprising to learn, therefore, that by the age of twenty, nearly 80% of us have some kind of foot problem, and by age forty almost everyone does.
Poor fitting shoes, as well as badly structured shoes, is one of the cause for foot hurt. Also being overweight, or having minor structural defects in the feet, or injuries — all of these factors can contribute to additional foot stress. Being overweight flattens the foot, straining the plantar fascia, a band of tissue which runs from the heel to the base of the toes, causing heel pain. A flat foot is one of the most common causes of a foot hurt.
Pronation is also considered the most common foot problem. In pronation, some of the bones of the foot drop to a less stable position because the foot arches are too weak to keep them in proper alignment. Another common problem — one that is often found along with pronation — is plantar fascitis, is basically sore feet caused by microscopic rips and tears in the mostly connective tissue (plantar fascia) that connects the heel bone to the bones in the ball of the foot. With plantar fasciitis, your feet hurt most when getting out of bed in the morning or anytime you’ve not been on your feet for a long time and then try to get up and walk around. Pronated feet often “flare outward” during standing or movement; your Achilles tendons and kneecaps may be rotated inward from the midline of your legs; and the heel of your shoes wears off.
Work-related factors also can lead to foot problems, especially jobs that require long periods of standing. Since the human foot is designed for mobility, maintaining an upright stance is extremely tiring. Standing for hours, day after day, not only tires your feet but can also cause permanent damage. So it’s a Catch-22 situation if you need to walk to lose weight, yet the weight is contributing to pain in your feet. Certainly, walking is the best exercise for anyone, and I encourage people to walk, I would advise you to find a good footwear store, and check out the different brands of running shoes, the people in the stores are knowledgeable about the shoes, Wearing proper foot gear designed specifically for whatever activity you participate is very important. Other best way to evade a foot injury is by custom made pair of orthotic devices may alleviate discomfort. Orthotic devices are usually a custom made device inserted into the shoe that is made from a mold of a patient’s foot that will control abnormal motion and provide support. To minimize the stress also perform stretching exercises targeted towards the calf muscles. A simple wall push up type of stretch can help stretch the calf muscles as it’s difficult to stretch the plantar fascia. It’s important to note that when performing any activity or exercise that stretching is important, and you should stretch your whole body. Also ice your feet at night or after any activity that stress the feet will lessen the pain.