Feet are something most of us take for granted. But once we have a foot problem, we realize just how critical our feet are to our overall health. Foot problems can prevent us from getting things done around the house, exercising, working and just enjoying life.
That’s why it’s so important to look for these warning signs of foot problems:
Persistent swelling and/or pain in the foot. If foot pain and/or swelling doesn’t go away after a few days of rest, you could have a sprain or even a fracture. Your doctor will likely order an X-ray to see if you have a broken bone.
A painful bump on the inside of your foot. A bump near your big toe — where it joins the foot — could be a bunion. Bunions can be painful, especially if you wear tight shoes. Wearing looser shoes can help. But if you have a bunion that’s frequently painful, you may need surgery.
Heel pain. A dull or stabbing pain in the heel or arch of the foot — especially if it starts off worse in the morning and gets better throughout the day — could be plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a thick connective tissue that goes from your heel to your toes. When it gets damaged (usually from a lack of stretching and/or intense activity like running or dancing), you’ll feel it. To treat plantar fasciitis, stretch your lower levels every day, and apply ice to your heel for about 10 minutes each day.
Chronic ankle pain. Ankle sprains are the most common injury reported to emergency rooms. Most ankle sprains will feel better in a matter of weeks. Some, however, cause long-standing pain or swelling. In cases where an ankle remains painful weeks or months after injury, it may be a sign of an underlying problem that needs attention. A foot and ankle surgeon may order an MRI to better understand if there is another injury to the joint surface, the tendons or ligaments around the ankle — as well as concerns regarding an unstable ankle.