Dear Readers, some of you have benefited from my previous posts about OA. During last 2 years, I have suffered from Foot pain in both legs. I am 76 years old now and able to walk without medication 3 mile morning walk every day. I am also overwieght by abour 10 Kg being 93 Kg at 5’10”. This post is about 3 forms of Foot Pain.
ANKLE PAIN: This affected me in the left ankle about 2 years ago. I went to an Orthopedist, who offered 2 options – take steroids or take rest or do both. See the drawing of ankle joint at following link: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bf/Ankle_en.svg/2000px-Ankle_en.svg.png
The pain was in the protrusion of the Tibia, which you see on right side of the left ankle, (and on the left side of the right ankle) – ie the interior sides of both legs. There will be pain in the Tibia in general and in the protruded area, where the ligaments are joining. The area also may be swollen and tender to the touch. The simplest way of permanently removing this pain is to wash the joint in cold water every time you visit a Bathroom! The reason for the pain is simple. The Tibia transfers half your weight to the sole of the foot. Like any metal rod under stress, the Tibia gets literally ‘hot’ inside after walking around for any length of time. Normally with good blood circulation, this heat is removed by Venal blood. One of the problems of old age, specially with higher levels of Cholesterol is that, the flow of Venal blood is impaired and you see swollen blood vessels in the calf region. When this blood circulation is slowed down, the heat removal is not efficient and inflammation and pain result. When this is seen, you simply cool down the entire Calf and Ankle region by dousing with cold water! While washing your feet pay special attention to the ‘hot’ ankle by holding it under the tap for 3 to 5 minutes! This simple act will keep you free of Ankle Pain!
In all Indian households, specially in rural areas, it is common for any visitor to be offered a greeting and saying “Please wash your feet” as a preliminary to having a meal with the family. In fact in many rural households, there is a place close to the main entrance where “Feet washing Water” is kept with a vessel and a mug always ready. While the ostensible reason is to wash off the road dust, the health reason is that you have walked to their home from the nearest Railway Station or the Bus Stand, and you need to cool your tired bones!
ARCH PAIN: This is also known as Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis (say “PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus”) is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk.
Plantar fasciitis is common in middle-aged people. It also occurs in younger people who are on their feet a lot, like athletes or soldiers. It can happen in one foot or both feet.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling. This is more likely to happen if:
- Your feet roll inward too much when you walk
- You have high arches or flat feet.
- You walk, stand, or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
- and also felt in the Heel region due to Plantar Fasciitis, there is another cause for Heel Pain. Excessive consumption of Milk Products, or Calcium Tablets, specially by men, results in calcium deposits in the Heel Bone and growth of “Heel Spurs” – These are protrusions in the rear of heel bone on one or both legs. It is generally known that the ‘leaching’ of calcium from bones is more in women than in men. While your wife is recommended to increase Calcium intake after say 50 years of age, the same is not true for Men. When the Heel bone starts to grow outwards, the “Achilles” tendon gets stretched like pulling a rubber band, and this additional stress causes pain which is felt at the source, ie where the tendon is attached to back of the heel.
The remedy for both types of pain is 2 simple actions!
- Wear High Heels! You can find many shoe or sandal styles with a minimum 1 inch heel. This type of footwear lifts the heel from your regular position and relieves the tension on the Tendon! This simple mechanical aid simply removes the Heel pain instantly! (You can get standard shoes with High Heels for men or just add a Heel only sole patch to the shoe from a local cobbler or shoe smith)
- Support the Arch of the sole, by wearing shaped inserts. These are made of silicone rubber and cost about rs 200 to 800 a pair. It is important to get the right size. If the instep support goes to the wrong place you get excruciating pain! You can also get special shoes with arch support.
I found a special shoe for Heel Pain made by Kuru (www.kurufootwear.com ) This comes with a special rubber insole which gets cured and set to the exact shape of your arch by pressure and heat of your feet after the shoe is used for about 2 or 3 hours of walking. The pain relief is amazing and your heel pain and arch pain due to Plantar Fasciitis is 100% gone! You will never wear another shoe again. Kuru ships to India and there is a 20% Customs duty payable. Cost is entirely Ok when compared to orthopaedic shoes!