3 Foot Injuries That Can Worsen When Walking On Hard Floors
If you are in a new relationship and your significant other insists on you removing your shoes in their home, you obviously don't want to rock the boat. However, there are specific reasons why walking barefoot on hard floors is not a good thing. While your loved one may not want dirt and germs on shoes to be tracked into their home, there are foot injuries that are worsened by walking barefoot. Here's what they are.
Fat Pad Atrophy
The bottoms of your feet have fat pads, which are designed to protect the bones, blood vessels, ligaments, nerves, and tendons in your feet. Fat pads provide cushioning and shock absorption while walking, running, and standing still. According to the Institute for Preventive Foot Health, an active person will have lost half of their fat pad by the time they are 50 years old. Walking on hard surfaces throughout your life can contribute to the loss of the protective layer of tissues in the fat pad.
The thinning of the pad can cause the connective tissues to be exposed to pressure when walking, especially on hard surfaces, which can cause inflammation and severe foot pain. Pressure on the bottoms of the feet when walking, running, or standing can cause the bones of the feet to bruise the soles. Treatment for fat pad atrophy includes wearing cushioning footwear.
The plantar fascia is located in your foot and is the shock absorber that protects your arch. To give you an idea of how it works, the plantar fascia is shaped like a bowstring. Tension and stress on this bowstring-like structure can cause small tears in it. Continual stress, such as from constantly walking on hard surfaces, can cause these small tears to worsen and lead to inflammation and irritation, which is called plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis includes a stabbing pain in the sole of your foot in between the heel and the arch, particularly first thing in the morning. Pain can be triggered by standing for a long time or when you stand up after sitting for a long period.
Walking or standing barefoot on hard floors should be avoided. Doctors often prescribe custom-fitted arch supports for shoes, which are called orthotics. This helps to distribute the pressure from walking, running, and standing more evenly. Orthotics reduces the stress placed on the plantar fasciitis to give it time to heal.
Another painful foot condition that can be worsened by walking on hard floors is called metatarsalgia. Translated from medical terminology to easily understandable English, this is a pain of the metatarsal region, which is more commonly called the ball of the foot. Metatarsalgia is often caused by a poor weight distribution on the metatarsal region, which is the front of the foot.
When someone with a normal gait walks, their weight is transferred from the heel to the outside of the foot and then the toes when you walk. The toe that should get the majority of the weight should be the big toe. If not, the smaller toes carry the majority of the weight, which could lead to trauma in the metatarsal region that is associated with the smaller toes and result in metatarsalgia.
When someone with metatarsalgia attemps to walk barefoot, they may find the pain unbearable and attempt to walk on the outsides of their feet rather than on the balls of their feet. Doing this could easily lead to other problems, such as rolling their ankles. Arch supports should be worn at all times by someone with metatarsalgia. Of course, in order to wear arch supports one must wear shoes.