Why Arch Support Still Matters When You’re Not Going Places
When it comes to foot health, you might expect that a slowdown in overall activity can lead to fewer overall problems. That might be true in some circumstances, but you might also be surprised to find your heel or foot pain acting up just as much with more hours at home—or even have new pain emerge that wasn’t there before!
When circumstances change, so can the conditions surrounding the health and comfort of your feet. Among the factors that should be considered, the support your feet are receiving should be near the top of that list.
Arch Support Can Be a Full-Time Gig
Let’s say you had a standard 9-5 office job (although is 9-5 “standard” anymore?), but now find yourself either working from home or between jobs.
What is missing from your feet now that was there throughout your workday? Odds are high that it’s a pair of shoes!
Unless you have torturous footwear that is built much more for style than substance, your shoes provide at least some support for your feet and arches when you walk or even stand around.
When you go from a day of shoes at work to a day of bare or sock-covered feet at home, it’s a change that could have a negative effect on your comfort. Certain factors can increase your risk of developing pain this way.
Weight and Distribution Can Contribute to Foot Pain
Our feet are naturally structured to bear our body weight and move effectively. In fact, as you move, the foot in contact with the ground often bears a force load heavier than your body weight alone—sometimes twice or more, depending on how fast you’re going.
However, foot structures are not always perfect, and they’re certainly not invincible.
If you have an abnormality in your foot structure—such as flat feet, for example—it can affect the way weight is distributed, leading to an excess amount of force in certain areas of the foot. These areas can eventually experience strain or an injury, leading to consistent pain.
Plantar fasciitis is a common source of heel pain, and a good example of what can happen. This condition concerns the plantar fascia, a strong band of tissue that runs beneath the foot. It supports the arch, as well as flexes to store and release energy as you move.
An abnormal foot structure or gait can place too much stress on the plantar fascia, or the tissues connected to it. This can increase the odds that repetitive stress from not wearing supportive shoes can overstrain the plantar fascia, leading to tiny tears and pain with each step!
So What Does This All Mean For Your Foot Pain?
If you have been spending less time in shoes and have developed foot pain or heel pain, the first thing you should do is let us know what’s going on! Foot or heel pain is not normal. We can evaluate and treat your pain, as well as find the root cause of the pain, so we can work together to prevent it from returning. Ignoring the root cause of the pain often allows it to recur, leading to unnecessary suffering.
Until you can come in for an appointment, however, it is worth trying an experiment.
Wear shoes in the house for a least a few hours daily. Athletic shoes/sneakers often provide the most support to the feet. Then, when the shoes have to come off, wear a supportive sandal. Strap sandals provide better support than flip-flops. Look for sandals with an arch support built in, such as Vionic or Birkenstock.
If you feel some relief after a few days, that’s an important clue to determining the source of your discomfort! Odds are good that the supportive elements in your shoes have had a positive effect on your feet all this time.
Once we determine the root of the problem, we can recommend an effective form of treatment. This might include stretching exercises, medication, physical therapy, changes in lifestyle or activity, or prescribing custom orthotic inserts to provide even greater support and stability to match the exact state of your foot structure.
Our office remains open to serve you, while taking enhanced precautions with patient scheduling and office and room disinfection procedures to keep things as safe as possible during COVID-19. We even offer Valet Medicine appointments to keep you out of the waiting room.
We are also providing telemedicine appointments so we can discuss your pain without you ever having to leave your home!
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call our Scottsdale office at (480) 629-5903.