Why do my feet hurt?

Do your feet hurt?

To know what type of foot pathology you’re suffering from (like in the above foot pain chart), please click on foot pain. To know more about general causes of foot pain, read on. 

A common question we often get is, “Why do my feet hurt while walking or standing? They do not hurt if I do not walk or move around.”

Your feet could hurt while you stand, walk or run (while you’re in weight bearing activities) for a variety of reasons, the most common being orthopedic in nature, caused by a deformity or a misalignment in the bones, muscles and tendons of the feet, most likely caused by one or more of the following: 

Abnormal foot mechanics

Abnormal foot movements

Your feet can hurt due to abnormal foot movements while walking. When the foot rolls excessively inwards (over pronation of the foot) or outwards (over supination of the foot) at the sub-talar joint, it causes misalignment in the lower leg that can cause pain in the foot, ankle, knee, lower back, neck. Custom insoles for correcting over pronation or over supination (also known as underpronation) of the foot provide necessary support to the foot to control abnormal foot biomechanics or motion. If you have severe overpronation, you will need custom orthotics along with shoes that have a rigid heel counter and strong upper construction to support the medial arch of your foot.

Ill-fitting footwear

Unscientifically designed footwear that does not have a good fit causes misalignment in the bones of the feet to cause irreversible foot damage which makes your feet hurt. Footwear that is tight in the forefoot region can cause your toes to compress and this could lead to bunions, also known as hallux valgus, a condition where your great toe begins turning inwards and could also begin to overlap your second toe. Tight or narrow shoes can also cause Morton’s neuroma where a nerve in the forefoot gets compressed between two bones grinding against each other causing shooting pain under the top of the foot.

Footwear having high heel height tends to put more pressure on the ball of the foot region and on the toes. The great toe plays the most important role in moving the body forward and excessive pressure on the great toe can hinder its functionality and cause conditions like sesamoiditis and metatarsalgia. Footwear that is loose does not offer a snug fit and cannot support the foot as required.

Footwear made using poor quality materials

Footwear made using cheap materials tends to compress or lose support and gets worn out really fast to cause an imbalance in the weight distribution on the soles of your feet. This puts excessive pressure on the worn out zones thus causing your feet to hurt. Walking on hard surfaces like tar, cement, concrete (as against soft ones like mud and sand) that do not absorb shock, damages the fat pad of the soles of your feet. That’s why it is important to wear footwear having high quality footbeds that are shock absorbing in nature and outsoles that do not get worn out too soon so they can maintain perfect balance and alignment between the left and right sides of your body by supporting your feet in equal measure.

Poor material footwear

Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Though these conditions affect the entire body, they cause nerve damage which causes postural foot deformation and misalignment that can make your feet hurt. Patients of diabetes and arthritis are more likely to suffer from flat feet, foot and ankle swelling, deformed feet, corn on foot, calluses and ulcers.  We make the best insoles for calluses and corns such that they offload pressure from the affected area and bring instant pain relief. 

Diabetic foot and RA foot

Excessive pressure on foot

Foot scan showing excessive pressure zones on foot soles due to high arches

Patients having certain foot profiles like flat feet or low or fallen arches or high arch feet are more likely to suffer from feet that hurt due to poor weight distribution on their feet. When you have a high instep or high arches, your heels and forefoot regions (balls of the foot) bear excessive weight pressure. If your feet are severely pronated, the area under the navicular bone (arch of the foot) could bear very high pressure. This causes excessive wear in these high pressure areas causing foot pain and inflammation. This excessive pressure also causes more strain on the surrounding bones, muscles, soft tissues. 

Foot pain relief in such cases can easily be achieved with overpronation insoles or underpronation insoles. High arch insoles redistribute excessive pressure in high arch feet while flat foot insoles provide foot arch support to take off the excessive pressure from the navicular bone.

Ageing, wear and tear

Ageing and foot pain

The elderly tend to have reduced plantar fat pad (natural cushioning in the feet) due to ageing and wear and thus have sensitive feet. The bones of the feet do not have adequate padding and they are exposed to higher impact of shock from the ground. This causes foot pain and instability. Footwear having footbeds for sensitive feet with adequate cushioning and shock absorption is important to help relieve such foot pain. Also, with ageing and wear, the tendons and ligaments of the feet become weak causing flat feet and ankle swelling and pain. Insoles made for fallen arches are very helpful in such cases but the arch support need not be high or rigid as it is difficult to adapt at their age.

It is good to see awareness about the right footwear gaining traction with a lot of senior citizens in India asking for what they call doctor footwear (medical arch support insoles and footwear in common parlance). We make excellent insoles, sandals and shoes for senior citizens that have soft footbeds with minimal arch support and high amount of shock absorption.

Damage from walking on hard surfaces

In older days, our roads were made of mud which is soft and absorbs shock. With modernization, we have started walking on concrete, tar, cement and similar hard surfaces. These do not absorb shock (Ground Reaction Force or GRF). This shock travels upwards via the feet into the body and can cause micro damage which can cause macro damage when accumulated over a period of time and result in some kind of foot tendinitis or cause some kind of inflammation in your foot. That is why it’s important to have shock absorbing insoles in your shoes especially when you’re running or playing a sport as these high impact activities generate a lot more shock because the foot strikes the ground with a higher amount of force as compared to walking. You’ll see the best running inner soles or the best running inserts for flat feet or plantar fasciitis have specialized shock absorbing material that cut out the shock generated from impact. A lot of marketing promote gel insoles for running shoes but gel insoles aren’t ideal as they are thick and they affect your foot’s proprioception function (surface sensing capability using nerve endings in your foot) in the long run. 

Need for shock absorbing insoles

Custom orthotic insoles can bring foot pain relief from all types of foot pain that are felt when your feet are bearing weight. Located in Mumbai, we make the best custom insoles in India because foot pain relief is our raison d’etre. We exist for the sole purpose of helping you get treatment for foot pain without surgery. We really do make the best insoles and best shoes for foot pain, for your feet.