Why Do My Feet Hurt?

By Alan Mauser
WebMD Live Events Transcript

Event Date: 09/12/2000.

Bunions, blisters, ingrown toenails, plantar fasciitis, corns and calluses, stress fractures, heel spurs, athlete's foot, fungal toes, plantar warts, bursitis, Achilles tendonitis - what's making your feet hurt?

This event is being brought to you by Humana. Humana may have determined the selection of the speaker or topic of this event. The views expressed by the speaker during this event are those of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the sponsor.

Moderator: Welcome to Humana Live Events. Our guest today is podiatrist Dr. Alan K. Mauser. We will be discussing foot health.

Welcome Dr. Mauser. How are you today?

Dr. Mauser: Fine, and how is everyone out there?

Moderator: Before we begin taking questions can you please tell everyone a little bit about your background and area of expertise?

Dr. Mauser: I have been in private practice for the last 15 years, and am certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, and a fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).

Moderator: What is a podiatrist?

Dr. Mauser: A podiatrist is a physician who specializes in the treatment of the foot, and its disorders. A podiatrist is trained by attending a podiatry college, then doing a residency program from one to four years. Podiatrists deal with all sorts of problems with the feet, from orthopedic problems to skin problems, from children to adults in all aspects of health care.

Moderator: svlarde asks: "My feet hurt first thing in the morning, or after sitting. I work on my feet most days, with some relief but not much. I wear work boots that fit good and until the last few months have had no problem. Any suggestion as to what the problem could be?"

Dr. Mauser: Generally, foot pain in the morning is a result of biomechanical problems that occur when a person walks and is very active on their feet. The pain you feel in the morning, after a night's rest, the feet are generally tight and contracted, they need to be stretched. The most common problem first thing in the morning is heel pain, and this is when the plantar fascia is tight and needs to be stretched out first thing in the morning. These types of problems can be helped with anti-inflammatory medication, modification of shoes, orthotic devices, and other treatments specific to your doctor.

Moderator: gboogiegirl asks: "My feet ache and burn and hurt so bad that at the end of a day I can't walk, and in the morning I have to hobble out of bed. It is mostly in my heels. I have never felt anything like this before. I have good shoes and I have inserts. What could be causing this?"

Dr. Mauser: This scenario is similar to the first one, that as your feet stretch out during the day, and as you walk, the fascia on the bottom of the foot can become stretched, where when you go to bed at night, you have to stretch it out all over again in the morning. Treatment consists of medication, orthotic devices, stretching exercises, possible surgery, and again, that's up to the discretion of your physician.

Moderator: What are some of the stretching exercises you would recommend?

Dr. Mauser: Stretching exercises are targeted towards stretching the calf muscles. A simple wall push up type of stretch, can help stretch the calf muscles. It's difficult to stretch the plantar fascia. It's important to note that when performing any activity or exercise that stretching is important, and you should stretch your whole body.

Moderator: cookie612 says: "I have spurs on my feet; how did I get them and how do I get rid of them?"

Dr. Mauser: Generally, if indeed this is what you have, heel spurs don't necessarily hurt. Again, this relates to the previous question; if you have pain in the bottom of your foot in the morning, this is related to the fascia and not necessarily the spur. The spur is a reactive zone that occurs due to the chronic stretching of the fascia. That is heel spurs. If indeed you have spurs on other places, it is usually reactive due to some repetitive force. Spurs can occur in other parts of the foot such as toes, in between toes, and on top of the foot.

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