Are your "dogs" barking? You're not alone! Every day, we take thousands of steps. So it's no surprise that foot and ankle pain can occasionally be part of our days, too - especially as we age. See your doctor for serious pain that interferes with daily life. But when it comes to occasional foot pain or discomfort, there are a few simple steps you can take for quick relief.
Here are 4 tips to give foot and ankle pain the boot.
1) Wear the Right Shoes
One of the best things you can do to relieve foot and ankle pain today - and prevent it from happening tomorrow - is to wear properly fitted, well-cushioned shoes. Have your feet measured at a shoe store at least once a year to make sure you're wearing the correct size and width, and replace older shoes that no longer fit. This doesn't mean you can't be stylish, it just means you need to know what to look for when buying new footwear.
2) Support Your Arches
Arch support isn't just for people with flat feet - it's important for all of us! If you've been experiencing foot and ankle pain, especially from wearing flat-soled shoes, try adding Powerstep inserts to your shoes. Our pedorthist, Reid Herrboldt, swears by them. They can be tough to find, but good news ... we carry multiple sizes! Stop by OI to pick up a pair. Or better yet, make an appointment with Reid for a professional fitting. Your legs and feet will feel better, because proper arch support helps reduce weakness and soreness all day long.
3) Stretch Often
Muscles can become stiff and painful whether you're standing and walking all day, or simply sitting at a desk or table. Every hour or so, remind yourself to stretch, relax and lengthen the muscles in your feet and ankles. Start by pointing your toes down to stretch the top of the foot and ankle. Then, roll your feet in circles (clockwise and counter-clockwise) to loosen up your ankle. Finally, point your toes straight up to stretch the back of your calf. Our physicians and therapists like these six stretches from Prevention Magazine.
4) Baby Your Feet
You can help your feet recover from carrying you around all day with simple foot care techniques. Do the bottoms of your feet hurt? Try rolling them from heel to toe over a frozen water bottle, tennis ball or baseball. The gentle massage stretches muscles and helps your feet recover from the day. Pain on the top of your foot can be an indication of arthritis. Most people with plantar fascitis have very tight calf muscles. You can use the six stretches noted above for relief.
If your foot and ankle pain persists, it's time to see a specialist at Orthopedic Institute.