January 6, 2009

Surgeons: Foot pain increases in Jan.

U.S. foot and ankle surgeons predict an increase in foot pain as people try to keep fitness resolutions.

Doctors interviewed by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons suggest the most common problems for those who go from couch potato to high intensity work-outs are sore Achilles tendons, heel pain and pinched nerves.

The doctors suggest ways to help prevent these conditions by:

-- Easing into exercise. Alternating a hard workout one day with an easy workout the next may help avoid Achilles tendonitis -- where the back of the foot becomes tender and painful. If Achilles tendon pain does occur the doctors recommend first using RICE therapy -- rest, ice, compression and elevation.

-- Using athletic shoes designed for the sport that support the arch and cushion the heel may help prevent the most common cause of heel pain -- plantar fasciitis. Performing stretching exercises two to three times a day can also help. Sit on the floor barefoot with the knees straight. Hook a towel around the toes of the foot. Pull back on the towel, count to 10, then relax. Repeat several times.

-- Having feet measured before buying athletic shoes. Many people wear shoes that are a half-size too tight and exercising in tight shoes can cause a pinched nerve that causes pain in the ball of the foot and tingling in the third and fourth toes.