Friday, April 12, 2024
Common Foot Problems FOOT HEALTH

Foot Pain After Sitting: Causes & Treatment of Pain in the Feet

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Experiencing foot pain after remaining seated for extended durations is not unusual. Excessive sedentary behavior can result in a variety of health complications, including foot pain.

This article delves into the various causes of foot pain that may  arise after extended periods of sitting, as well as solutions for each condition.

feet

What Are the 7 Causes of Pain in the Feet After Sitting?

1) Plantar Fasciitis 

Experiencing foot pain after prolonged sitting can be attributed to Plantar Fasciitis. When an individual remains seated, the feet naturally adopt a position termed “plantar flexion,” causing the toes to point downwards. 

This position leads to tightening of the Achilles tendon at the ankle’s rear and the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is the  ligament that bolsters the foot’s arch, extending from the heel and branching out towards the toes. 

Over time, as these structures tighten, inflammation of the ligament occurs, resulting in plantar fasciitis. A common symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel and arch pain. 

What Is the Solution for Heel Discomfort?

For individuals dealing with heel discomfort, consistent stretching of the plantar fascia is important. Engaging in regular plantar fascia stretches can offer significant relief.

Orthotics are recommended to alleviate pain associated with fasciitis along the plantar heel. These devices elevate the arch and minimize strain on the plantar fascia. 

While custom orthotics, tailor-made to fit one’s unique foot structure, are considered ideal, they can be somewhat costly. Before investing, individuals should inquire with their insurance providers about potential coverage for such items.

Over-the-counter orthotics have demonstrated substantial efficacy in alleviating plantar fasciitis-related discomfort. 

Many professionals vouch for the Powerstep orthotic brand, noted for its robust support, adaptability to various footwear, and the appropriate degree of arch support. 

Apart from orthotics, a medical health massage of the fascia can provide relief.  A massage device can help as well. 

A simple manual massager, available on platforms like Amazon, will suffice. Regular rolling of the foot on such a device can enhance the flexibility of the plantar fascia and boost blood circulation.

Lastly, for persistent and acute cases, corticosteroid injections are beneficial in alleviating pain.  

2) Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, the tendon that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. When individuals sit for prolonged periods, the calf muscles can become tight, pulling on the Achilles tendon.

As they stand up and begin to walk, the sudden strain, combined with the prior tension, can cause your feet to hurt.

What Is the Solution for Achilles Heel Discomfort?

For those suffering from discomfort associated with Achilles tendinitis, a combination of rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications can be beneficial. Regular calf stretches and strengthening exercises, under the guidance of a physical therapist, can also help alleviate the pain when standing up from a seated position.  

3) Stress Fractures

Stress fractures refer to tiny cracks in a bone, often resulting from repetitive force or overuse. Sitting for extended durations can lead to muscle tightness and reduced circulation in the lower limbs. 

When an individual with an impending or existing stress fracture stands up after prolonged sitting, the sudden pressure on a weakened bone can cause pain or further aggravate the condition.

What Is the Solution for Stress Fractures?

The primary approach to healing stress fractures is rest. Keeping weight off the affected foot allows the bone to heal. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage pain and reduce inflammation. 

Orthotic devices or supportive footwear may be recommended to distribute foot pressure evenly. For more severe fractures or persistent pain, a consultation with an orthopedic specialist becomes essential. 

They may suggest immobilization with a cast or brace and, in rare cases, surgical intervention. 

4) Neuropathy

Extended periods of sitting may contribute to weight gain, subsequently elevating the risk for conditions such as diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. Elevated blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage.  

Such nerve damage can manifest as burning sensations, tingling, or numbness in the feet that occurs during and after sitting. 

Solution of Neuropathy Discomfort

Alleviating neuropathy-induced discomfort can be achieved through several means. Topical solutions like Aspercreme with 4% Lidocaine or Capsaicin cream can offer relief. 

Additionally, oral medications, such as Gabapentin and Lyrica, have proven effective in treating neuropathy. It’s important to consult a physician for proper prescription and dosage recommendations.

To read more about how to manage diabetic neuropathy in detail, read this article Diabetic Neuropathy In the Feet- A Simple Treatment Guide

5) Arthritis

The combined effects of joint inflammation, cartilage degradation, and extended inactivity result in heightened foot pain for arthritis sufferers when standing up from a seated position. 

When an individual remains seated for extended durations, the joints in the feet can become stiff due to the lack of movement. In those with arthritis, this foot stiffness can be more pronounced, given that the joint inflammation and any associated swelling further restrict joint mobility.

In the foot, which comprises numerous small joints, arthritis can lead to cartilage degradation. Cartilage serves as a cushion between the bones, and its wear can result in bone-on-bone friction, especially when an individual stands or walks after sitting. This friction exacerbates pain, especially after prolonged periods of non-movement.

Osteoarthritis, one of the most common types of arthritis, can especially impact weight-bearing joints, including those in the feet. The first steps after standing from a seated position can be particularly painful for those with osteoarthritis in the feet or ankles.

What Is the Solution for Painful Arthritis?

To relieve arthritis pain from sitting, take NSAIDs or other recommended medications to manage pain and inflammation.  Manage weight, as excess pounds increase stress on foot joints. 

Performing a foot massage during a work break can help alleviate pain.  Lastly, take frequent breaks from sitting and perform gentle foot stretches to reduce stiffness and discomfort.

6) Venous Insufficiency

When one’s legs hang down in a dependent position while sitting, their veins struggle to efficiently return blood to the heart. For some individuals, this is due to damage in the leg veins, a condition termed venous insufficiency. 

Extended periods of sitting can lead to blood pooling in the legs and feet, potentially causing discomfort and pain. While walking, calf muscles assist in pumping blood back to the heart. This mechanism is less efficient when seated. 

compression stockings

How Is Venous Insufficiency Treated?

Compression stockings serve as an effective treatment for venous insufficiency. They play a pivotal role in assisting the upward movement of blood towards the heart, especially crucial for individuals who remain seated for extended durations. 

It’s important to select the appropriate size and strength. One should measure the ankle and calf and cross-reference with the manufacturer’s sizing chart. 

A recommended starting strength is 15 to 20 mmHg. Brands such as Jobst, available on platforms like Amazon, are often preferred. While these stockings can be worn throughout the day, they should be removed at night. Application can occasionally be challenging, but the benefits are significant. 

It’s important to note that those with peripheral vascular disease should refrain from using these stockings, as they might induce leg pain. Incorporating regular exercise into one’s routine, such as walking for 10-15 minutes every hour, can also be beneficial.

7) Improper Shoes

Choosing the appropriate footwear when sitting is crucial for preventing foot pain. Donning constrictive shoes that exert undue pressure on one’s toes and the upper foot can lead to painful conditions like corns and even nerve-related discomfort. This pain can intensify when an individual stands or walks.

Read more about how Bad Shoes Can Cause Foot Pain in this detailed guide.

How Can You Ensure That You Wear the Right Shoes?

To ensure one wears the right shoes, it’s advisable to visit a shoe store at day’s end when feet are typically at their most swollen. Accurate measurement of both the length and width of the feet should be conducted, preferably using a Brannock device. 

For a detailed guide on using this device for precise foot measurement, one can refer to a video by The Vintage Future.

The orthotist or sales representative at the store can provide shoe recommendations based on foot size and structure.

Scheduling a consultation with a foot specialist can provide additional insights into suitable shoe options. Securing a proper shoe fit is essential in preventing foot discomfort.

When Should You See a Healthcare Provider for Foot Care?

It’s essential for an individual to be proactive about their foot health. If they encounter persistent or intensifying discomfort in their feet, especially if home treatments or modifications don’t bring about relief, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for foot care. 

This step isn’t just about addressing existing pain. It is also a preventative measure. Regular consultations with a healthcare professional can lead to early detection of potential foot-related complications, ensuring timely treatment and possibly avoiding more severe issues down the road.

How Can You Improve Foot Health and Prevent Discomfort in the Feet After Being Sedentary?

For individuals leading a sedentary lifestyle, proactive measures are essential to safeguard foot health. Regular foot stretches and exercises can strengthen the feet and prevent strains. 

Taking short breaks during long sitting periods can boost blood circulation and minimize stiffness. Proper footwear is important, ensuring adequate support without causing undue pressure. 

Managing one’s weight can decrease stress on foot joints, reducing the risk of discomfort. Integrating these practices can reduce foot pain associated with prolonged inactivity.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the significance of foot health cannot be overstated, especially when confronting pain in the feet after extended periods of sitting. Experiencing discomfort in the morning, particularly upon setting the foot down, can hint at conditions like plantar fasciitis or ailments associated with ankle tension. 

The medical information provided in this article emphasizes the importance of meticulous foot care, which includes beneficial measures like massage and seeking expert advice at clinics for conditions that cause persistent back and bottom of heel pain.

Being proactive and informed about foot-related diseases ensures that individuals can adequately address and prevent complications resulting from prolonged inactivity. If one has failed conservative care, they should seek care at a foot doctors clinic to ensure good foot health.

Related articles:

Foot Pain From Standing All Day (Easy Solutions for Pain in the Feet)

Do Cortisone Shots Work For Plantar Fasciitis?

Top 5 Reasons Your Heel Hurts From Walking.

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The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Vaishnavi Bawa
Dr. Vaishnavi Bawa is a Podiatrist who specializes in treating foot and ankle pathology. LifesLittleSteps mission is to educate the public about foot health in an easy-to-understand manner using evidence-based medicine.
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