My Feet Are Sore - What's The Problem?

By Athlete's Care on September 10, 2019

Treating everyone from professional athletes to office workers, it’s no surprise that many of the patients treated by our Toronto physiotherapists and chiropractors involve the feet in one way or another. The human foot is an incredibly complex structure that is responsible for movement, balance, and so much more.

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It’s also an area of the body so many of us neglect, which can lead to its own set of issues, along with exacerbating any other conditions that arise because of an injury, over use, or repeated use over time.

Common complaints

Here are some very common symptoms that manifest themselves in the feet, and which may point to a variety of conditions. The important take-away is that, where there is any discomfort that lasts beyond a few days, you will want to make an appointment to consult with your Toronto physiotherapist or other sports medicine specialist for a thorough examination and proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

1. Foot cramps

Foot cramps can be uncomfortable and downright painful. The muscles contract suddenly, and you can’t relax them. The good news is that they don’ t cause any damage to your muscles or ligaments, but they can also be a sign of other issues.

  • Dehydration and other nutritional deficiencies, such as electrolytes or certain minerals;
  • Nerve damage, or an underlying neurological condition such as MS or Parkinson disease;
  • Circulatory problems, inadequate blood flow.

2. Heel Pain

Heels take a lot of abuse, from fashionable footwear that doesn’t offer adequate support, to taking a lot of the impact when walking, jogging, and running. It’s no wonder they hurt now and then.

  • A sharp pain at the bottom of the heel is a likely sign of plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the ligament that attaches to the heel bone. Pain will get worse when you stand up from a sitting position, and may be worst first thing in the morning. Did you know it can actually be caused by wearing flip flops or tight shoes?
  • Achilles tendonitis, an inflammation of the Achilles tendon that runs along the back of the heel and ankle, is painful, and usually also involves tightness of the calf muscle, and other symptoms.
  • A bone spur, or heel spur, is a deposit of calcium at the back of the heel. It can cause pain and inflammation, and is sometimes connected to plantar fasciitis.

3. Pain with stiffness

Pain and stiffness in the feet, often extending into the ankles, is often the result of osteoarthritis, or OE. It’s very common in older patients, due to the wear and tear to the joints and the tissues around them.

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is less often the cause for pain in the feet, especially at the joints, where the tissues have become inflamed.

4. Stress fractures

A stress fracture is a very small crack in the bone, and it’s common in athletes who participate in high impact sports like football or basketball. You may have cracked the bone while playing, only to feel the full effects later. It typically begins as an ache or burning sensation at the specific area of injury, and gets worse if left untreated.

5. Pain on the ball of the foot

Pain and inflammation on the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia) are usually due to shoes that don’t fit properly, but it may also be the result of intense running or jumping, or other track and field activities.

You feel this pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot. Ill-fitting shoes are the usual cause. But you might get it from strenuous activity, such as running or jumping. It’s sometimes called a stone bruise as well.

Even beyond their biomechanical structure, the feet act as a kind of window into your general health. There are many conditions that may show few concrete symptoms – but the signs will show up in your feet. These are symptoms you shouldn’t ignore.

  • Sores that don’t heal can be caused by a number of serious underlying issues such as diabetes.
  • Pain in the toe, especially the large toe, is often a sign of gout, which is a type of arthritis caused by diet. Too much purine collects in the joint, causing redness and swelling.
  • Uncomfortable burning pain, which is a symptom of a number of conditions including Morton’s neuroma, and diabetes.
  • Any redness or warmth is a sign of infection, and should be treated by an appropriate medical professional as soon as possible.

There are many other symptoms you may be experiencing when it comes to your hard working feet. If you are experiencing any problems with your feet, let our Toronto physiotherapists and other sports medicine specialists help. Call or drop by one of our Toronto clinics to make an appointment today.