Walking is a fantastic, low-stress form of exercise that can be easily incorporated into our daily lives. Whether it’s walking instead of taking the bus, or meeting up with friends to go around the park, walking can benefit your mentality, decrease your risk of heart disease, and much, much more. But, as with any activity, an increased amount of walking can lead to an increased amount of pain. Below we look at some of the most common types of foot pain associated with walking, and how you can relieve said pain.
One of the most common sources of foot pain is Plantar fasciitis. This is characterised by tenderness along the bottom of your feet, particularly in the arch area. The plantar fascia are the ligaments that run along the bottom of our feet, connecting our heels to our toes. It is one of the most commonly overused parts of our body, and Plantar fasciitis is when the area swells up as a result of this.
The best way to tackle Plantar fasciitis is first to ensure that you are wearing the appropriate footwear for walking. You should be wearing firm shoes with lots of cushioning on the inside, and they need to have proper arch support. If you are experiencing pain here, you can perform a simple stretch to help loosen up the ligaments. Simply sit with one leg outstretched, and pull your toes towards you with your hand. Stop when it starts to become painful, rather than just uncomfortable. Another option is to freeze a bottle of water, and roll it underneath your feet like a massage roller. You should also avoid too much uphill walking, as this stretches the area more than usual.
Achilles tendinitis is another form of swelling quite similar to Plantar fasciitis, only the pain is felt at the back of your leg. The achilles tendon runs from the back of your calf to your heel, and can become inflamed after excessive walking, particularly if you have just taken up walking, or walk on uneven terrain.
The best way to tackle this is to reduce the distance you are walking, and gradually build yourself up to your desired distance. Many cases of Achilles tendinitis occur when a person jumps into the deep end and starts walking far more than their body can handle. To relieve the existing pain, you should use ice-packs (but not actual ice) on the affected area for up to 20 minutes a day until the pain subsides.
A bunion is a visible lump that forms at the base of your big toe. It forms when the bones in the toe are pushed too far to one side, causing the area to stick out, swell, and rub off the shoes. It can be painful to the touch, and can make everyday tasks very difficult to carry out.
When it comes to bunions, early identification is essential in getting the most effective treatment. The most important thing you can do to prevent a bunion from forming or deteriorating is to make sure you wear shoes that offer your toes plenty of room, and do not force them together. If the bunion is very large or painful, you should see a foot specialist, as failure to tackle them early on often means that surgery is the only option to address the issue.
Walking is a great way for people to stay active and healthy, but too many people assume it’s simply a matter of getting up and going out. Remember that too much of any activity will have negative effects on your body, so don’t rush into things. Build yourself up gradually, and most importantly, make sure you wear the proper shoes.