Any Architect will tell you that a building will not stand long without a good foundation. A good foundation determines how well the building will handle the extremes that Mother Nature will throw at it. This is also true for the human body in many respects, in regards to your feet. It is important to have healthy feet for mobility, and everyday function. Slowing down because of foot problems are the least of your worries. Foot problems and problems associated with your feet can cause severe pain and possibly immobilize you.
Below are some of the most common foot issues people have and suggestions on how to relieve and hopefully cure the problem. For the record I am not a doctor so please do your own investigation into the cause of your pain by seeing your doctor. This information is meant only has information of issues to be aware of and possible treatments.
Problem: This usually manifests as tenderness on your foot, generally on the bottom or near the heel of the foot. It can cause severe pain, making it difficult to stay on your feet for periods of time and if left untreated can cause calcium buildup, which can lead to Heel Spurs.
Treatment: When you first feel stiffness or pain try to loosen up your foot by doing stretches for the bottom of your foot. Rolling your foot on a small ball, or full water bottle can also help. Wearing supportive shoes, choosing shoes that are not to flexible in the middle can also help.
Problem: Soreness or swelling on the sides of your toes. This is caused when the corners or the sides of your toenails grow sideways rather than forward.
Treatment: Make sure the shoes you are wearing have plenty of room in the toes. You will be spending more time in them outside then probably you did before. Use toenail clippers to cut straight across instead of rounding the corners.
Problem: A Bunion causes pain on the side of your big toe. People with flat feet, low arches, or arthritis may be more prone to developing Bunions.
Treatment: Make sure the shoes you are wearing have plenty of room in the toes. Icing after walking can help relieve the pain and you can cushion it with OTC pads. Physical therapy may reduce the inflammation also.
Problem: The tendon connecting you calf muscle to your heel can become irritated. This can be very painful, causing you to limp noticeably.
Treatment: Limit walking as much as possible and ice the area several times a day is the recommended treatment. Regular calf stretches may help prevent it and stay away from walking up hills can also prevent it. Stick to flat surfaces that will not put as much strain on the tendon.
Problem: This is pain in the ball of your foot or between toes. It can be felt as tingling, numbness, or pain that radiates to surrounding areas. Women are prone to this far more than men are, but that may be due to many women’s choices in foot wear.
Treatment: Make sure the shoes you are wearing have plenty of room in the toes. Insoles can also be helpful or something that cushions the foot. If this doesn’t cure the condition surgery is also an option.
Problem: Acute pain in your foot or lower leg. This usually presents itself as tenderness or pain in a specific spot. This is basically a tiny fracture in a bone, which can be the result of ignoring a Shin Splint problem.
Treatment: Stay off of your feet as much as possible and it can take several weeks to heal a bone break. To help prevent future issues try lower body strength training a couple times a week and eat calcium-rich foods.
Problem: An area of the foot, typically the heel or toe rubs the shoe or boot and the skin becomes inflamed. This is quite painful and if not care for can burst. This can also lead to infection, which is never good.
Treatment: Stay off of your feet or out of those shoes as much as possible to give the area time to heal. Clean the area and if the blister broken leave the skin on and apply a bandage. You should not drain a blister to avoid exposing it to outside air and dirty conditions. Petroleum jelly can be applied to help prevent a bandage from sticking to a blister that has burst. At the first signs of irritation in an area, but before a blister you can apply Moleskin to cushion the area.
The following problems are not specifically in the foot, but can be caused by excessive walking on your feet, which is why I’m listing them.
Problem: Shin Splints can cause pain or stiffness in your shines. This is caused by the calf muscles pulling repeatedly on weaker muscles at the front of the shin.
Treatment: Stay off of your feet as much as possible, and ice the area to reduce the swelling. It may take 3 to 8 weeks to fully recover from Shin Splints.
Problem: You will have discomfort in front of your knee cap and it will be acute every time you walk. If this persists the knee cap can start to rub against your femur, causing cartilage damage. The pain is more prevalent when walking downhill.
Treatment: Stay off of your feet as much as possible to give the knee time to heal, which can take many weeks. Doing quad strengtheners can help align the knee cap, and help to support it in the future. When walking or hiking downhill, take smaller steps and do your best to not bend your knees much. Alternatively you can try walking sideways down a hill.
Problem: You feel a soreness on the outside area of your hips. People with one leg slightly longer than the other are more susceptible to it, but too much walking without building up to it can cause it also.
Treatment: Stay off of your feet as much as possible for a few weeks until soreness as gone. When you get back on your feet take is slow so as not to inflame the area again. Let it build up to the activity level you are needing.
Problem: Something probably everyone has had at some point in time is an ache in your mid to lower back. Fatigued tendons and ligaments in the lower back make it easier to “throw your back out” also.
Treatment: To help prevent back issues, keep the muscles in your trunk strong. While walking work your ab muscles by sucking in your gut like when you want to look skinnier in the mirror. Instead of leaning into an uphill climb with your back lean into the climb at your ankles. A good exercise of your core will help strengthen your back.
For our regular, everyday activities it is vital that we keep our feet healthy. Simply walking upstairs at work or in our homes can be an ordeal if we don’t. In a post SHTF situation it is even more critical, since your feet may be your only means of reliable transportation. If you need to head out of town in a hurry and you’re having to deal with one of the issue discussed here you will likely not be moving in a hurry. Speaking from experience, at the first signs of issues with your feet, see your doctor. There is a possibility that the problem will go away on its own, but if it doesn’t you will be making it worse.
Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.