Walking is praised as one of the easiest, most effective, and most accessible forms of exercise, and that echoes true – as long as you’re not dealing with foot pain that makes every step torture. Recent findings hint that a whopping 77% of U.S adults have experienced foot problems, which means that for most of us, going for a walk may be a lot less pleasing than sitting on the couch. 

Orthopedic specialists agree that people who experience foot problems simply don’t pay much heed to their feet until there are problems. Women are particularly exposed to foot problems as they wear shoes that are too small for their feet. This often leads to conditions like hammertoes, bunions, or other painful foot deformities -all of which can take the spring out of your walk. Just like every part of your body, your feet and ankles may undergo an age-related transformation as well. So how can we identify and manage some of these issues, or better yet, when to seek professional help? 

Common Foot Problems 

We all take our feet for granted until there’s a problem. Whether it is pain from a condition or injury,  taking proper care of our lowest part is crucial to being active. Our feet must bear our physical weight when we stand, walk, run and move around. Compared to the rest of your body, feet make up 25% of our bones, 18% of joints, and 6% of muscles, and injury to any of these areas can cause severe effects on our bodies. 

Healthy feet are crucial for mobility – which is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. If your feet hurt, or you struggle with an injury, the loss of mobility can be detrimental for both your physical and psychological health, as you may not be able to enjoy doing the things you like most such as dancing, walking, swimming, or playing off. 

However, the stress carrying you around puts your feet at a high risk of injury, higher than any other body part. And many common foot problems such as blisters, hammertoes, calluses and corns, mallet toes, athlete’s foot, and more others can develop from unfit shoes and simple wear and tear. 

Athlete’s foot

Because of a fungus that likes dark, warm moist environments, an athlete’s foot causes the skin to become inflamed with a white, scaly inflammation on a red base. Typical symptoms include burning, itching, peeling, and a slight odor. 

You can reduce the risk of an athlete’s foot (commonly referred to as pedis) by improving the hygiene of your feet. Make sure you always keep your toes and feet dry and clean don’t walk barefoot in public locker rooms and change your socks and shoes regularly. 

Sprays and antifungal creams without a prescription can be used to treat this problem, and powders and sprays can also be used inside your shoes to eliminate any remaining fungus. 

Don’t try to ignore or push through discomfort. If you’re experiencing problems and would like recommendations for foot care, seek a top-rated podiatrist and ask about prescription-strength medication. It also pays to know that the infection can migrate to other parts of the body if left untreated and even be transmitted to other individuals through shared gym mats, floors, and other surfaces.  


We all had blisters once in our life. This common foot problem appears when there’s friction between the skin on the foot and the inside of your shoes, forming a soft pocket of raised skin filled with clear fluid that is hard to bear, especially during long trips. 

You can prevent blisters by wearing comfortable, size-fitting footwear and socks. If the problem persists, it’s best to let them fall naturally rather than picking them on your own. 

If you develop blisters often, make sure you always carry around a set of bandages to cover the blister and let it burst naturally. When that happens, you can apply an over-the-counter treatment with a bandage to speed up the healing process and prevent infection. 

Plantar fasciitis 

The fascia or tissue, between the heel and foot, can become inflamed and cause heel pain, also known as plantar fasciitis. Frequently hitting or stressing the heel can cause irritation too.

Studies suggest plantar fasciitis is common among runners and other athletes, but it’s typically seen as an overuse injury for which almost everyone is at risk.

More often than not, people resort to physical therapy where they can learn stretches and switch to supportive shoes to reduce the pressure in the medial part of the foot. Less than 10% of people with plantar fasciitis require surgery to treat this painful disorder.

Typically, podiatrists require patients with plantar fasciitis to apply a cold compress to relieve the pain and also recommend that they wear a special splint at night to stretch the affected foot. Alternatively, if you need to work in this condition you can find out the best work boots for plantar fasciitis.


If one of your first toes is crossed, points at an odd angle, or just bends in the middle of the toe joint, you may have what’s commonly known as hammertoes. Uncomfortable or too tight shoes contribute to the formation of this condition. 

Those who wear unsupportive shoes or high heels are more likely to develop this condition. Sometimes, pressure from a bunion and rheumatoid arthritis can cause hammertoe. If your hammertoes become unbearable after a trip, you can apply an ice pack several times a day or relieve the swelling and soreness.

Mallet and Claw Toes 

Mallett to, claw, toe, and hammertoes are similar conditions all caused by deformity of the toes joints. These affections generally develop slowly from wearing ill-fitting shoes, but can also be due to nerve and muscle damage. 

This condition often leads to corns and calluses where they rub against shoes. While uncomfortable footwear can be blamed for claw toes, so can nerve damage to the feet (from conditions like diabetes), which weakens foot muscles. 

If mallet and claw toes affect your day-to-day life, don’t ignore the symptoms. Instead, seek the advice of a podiatrist. More often than not foot health can be a sign that your overall health and happy feet can keep you moving strong.