If you have frequent foot pain, you may want to see a podiatrist for an evaluation. Chronic wear and tear from standing all day at work or walking long distances can damage your feet if you don't wear the proper shoes. While that might sound like something you should just push through, when you ignore pain, you can cause damage to your feet that leads to the need for surgery. It's best to avoid that possibility and uncover the cause of the pain so it can be treated. Here are some things your foot doctor might do.
Identify The Location Of The Pain
The location of your foot pain tells a lot about the cause. For instance, problems with your Achilles tendon are often felt along the back of the heel. Plantar fasciitis may cause pain on the soles of your feet and your heels. Your doctor might try to trigger the pain by pressing on various structures in your feet. A physical examination can tell quite a bit, but your doctor can evaluate your feet further with imaging studies such as an X-ray or MRI. These tests can show bone fractures, joint problems, and tissue damage.
Examine Your Shoes And Your Gait
Your podiatrist will probably want to see a pair of shoes that you wear often. This lets the doctor know if you're wearing shoes that give your feet no support and it also reveals a little about your gait. If you walk on the outsides of your feet, the outer heels may be worn out more than the inner heels. Gait abnormalities are fairly common, and they put stress on your feet that lead to pain and tiredness. The podiatrist might perform tests that measure your gait to see if the way you walk puts stress on certain structures in your feet that lead to foot and ankle pain. You might even have frequent back or hip pain due to the way you walk.
Prescribe Orthotics And Recommend Shoes
While you may need to rest your feet as much as possible until they start to heal, your podiatrist may want you to wear shoe inserts or orthotic devices that stabilize your feet in your shoes. These can offer support to your arches, elevate your heels, and stop your feet from rolling. In addition, your podiatrist might recommend a brand of podiatrist-approved shoes that offer the type of support your feet need.
If you continue to have foot pain after changing your shoes and wearing orthotics, your podiatrist may need to go a step further and have custom shoes made for you. If your feet have severe damage, you might even need to wear braces on your feet while they heal, do physical therapy exercises, or undergo surgery. Foot pain is a sign something is wrong so it shouldn't be ignored. Fixing the problem might be as easy as buying a new brand of shoes, but identifying the reason for the pain is the first step in stopping it.