Best Foot Forward by Dr M Clark
A sore muscle or tendon in the foot may lead to problems elsewhere in the body.
Feet are for walking, running, skipping and hopping. The biomechanics are complex and the force exerted by our muscles and tendons across our foot and ankle joints is enormous.
To stand up, we have to balance and support our full body weight equally on both feet. When we walk, we lift our body weight onto the front of one foot, swing the other leg forward and keep our balance until our full body weight plus momentum come crashing down onto the other foot. The muscles involved need to manage hundreds of kilograms of force for walking, and 10 to more than 50 times for running, hopping or skipping. It only takes one tendon or ligament to stretch or swell to interfere with this process. Other muscles try to take up the slack until the injury heals but sometimes it doesn't.
The stoic approach is not recommended. Hobbling along changes the way we walk and impacts on other joints: first the knees, then the hips and eventually the back. Just like the tyres on our cars, if the balance is not right, the tread wears down. The longer we creak along, the more the joints wear and eventually become arthritic.
The solution: if you have sore feet all the time, see your health practitioner or a podiatrist who is trained to treat foot problems. Most of the time, all that is required is advice about footwear and some exercise, sometimes a specially fitted insole for your shoes, and rarely a trip to an orthopaedic surgeon.
Having sore foot is a miserable business. Happy, healthy feet are much more enjoyable.
Late in the day is the best time to buy shoes, according to the Podiatry Council, as feet swell throughout the day and it is best to fit shoes when your feet are largest.