If your feet hurt, it could be your own fault.
Perhaps we don’t like to hear things like that, but it’s sometimes true. While some foot problems are inherited conditions, some develop because of conditions that are beyond our control and some can’t really be explained at all, many kinds of foot and heel pain are the result of our own actions.
Are you doing things that are putting your foot health in danger? It’s possible, and you can choose to make better decisions instead.
Here are five things that we know for sure are bad for your feet:
1. Wearing flip-flops, ballet shoes or anything without much support underneath. While they may feel comfortable enough at the time, the structures in your feet are used to being supported. The flat, soft footbeds in shoes like these cause your feet to roll toward the inside — moving beyond their usual range of montion. And that causes foot and heel pain.
2. Walking around without shoes on hard surfaces. While some make the case that feet were intended to be barefoot, we weren’t intended to walk on hard concrete floors all day either. Going barefoot on sand may be just fine, but when you do it on hard floors, you’re putting unnatural and unnecessary stress on the structures in your feet.
3. Letting your calf muscles get too tight. Many kinds of foot and heel pain are caused by or made worse by tight calf muscles. Stand on a step and allow the back of your foot to sink below the front of your foot to give your calves a bit of stretch. You can also explore more formal calf exercises with your doctor. You may be surprised how much difference exercising one part of your body can make for another.
4. Increasing your activity level without giving your body time to adjust. Start any new kind of fitness routine slowly and build up to your desired level of activity. And be sure you wear good shoes with good shoe insoles when you work out, do sports or even just stand or walk for a long time. Your feet will thank you with less foot and heel pain.
5. Letting your weight get out of control. Your feet aren’t designed to carry an unlimited amount of weight, so try to get moving with low-impact activities and take off some of those unwanted pounds. Water aerobics and swimming are great, and so is doing a bit of yoga and working out with a rowing machine. There are many things you can do to help your body by taking off some pounds.
Sure, there are other things that are bad for foot health too — but we know for sure the five things explained above can lead to foot and heel pain, and you can take action to keep from damaging your feet by avoiding these top offenders.
You can’t prevent all foot problems, but you need to do everything you can to prevent those that are within your control.