Submitted Aug 22, 2003   Updated Sep 26, 2010
By Ray


Q. How common is foot pain?

That probably depends upon the age of the population you are interested in and where in the world that population is. Young people seldom if ever have food pain until teen age girls try to put their feet in shoes that are too small for them. In countries where they do not use shoes, foot pain is extremely uncommon at any age.

It has been estimated ( that 3 out of 4 Americans experience serious foot problems in their lifetime. Your feet contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles. That means that a quarter of the bones in your body are in your feet. Only a small percentage of the population are born with feet problems.

Women have 4 times as manhy foot problems as do men. High heels and pointed toes are part of the reason that women have foot pain.

Walking is one of the best exercises for your feet as well as for your whole body.

Your feet often show the first signs of diseases like diabetes, arthritis, nerve and circulatory disorders. Part of the reason for this is that your feet are farther away from your heart and brain than any other part of your body. Foot pain may be the first sign of serious medical problems. For this reason it is wise to see a competent doctor concerning foot pain.

It has been estimated that the average person takes 8 – 10,000 steps a day. This adds up to 115,000 miles during a lifetime. This is far enough to go around the circumference of the earth four times.

Q. Why are Painful Feet so Distressing?

1. Feet can't rest like hands can.

2. Feet can't always rest at night (if you have to go to the bathroom).

3. Sometimes you can't see or feel your feet.

4. Because it is difficult to lose weight!

Q. What are some of the most Common Causes of Foot pain?



Claw toes

Bunions & Bunionettes

Q What are the common causes of these conditions that cause foot pain?

High heels, pointed toe, or too small shoes

Q Are there other common causes of foot pain?

Ingrown toenails and toenail deformities

Heel spurs

Q You have mentioned several painful foot conditions. What do you think is the most common painful foot condition?

King "Corn" (really a commoner)

Q What causes King "Corn"?

Corns are "messengers" or "flagwavers".

Corns are not the cause but the result of pressure (usually from too tight shoes).

Corns occur over bony prominences especially with claw toes or hammer toes.

Corns come back again when trimmed.

Q If trimming the corn gives only temporary relief, is there any permanent cure?

Treatment consists of relieving the pressure.

Treatment of Corns and Callouses:

1. Permanent Methods of removing the pressure:

Change shoes: Sandals or wider shoes with lower heels

Shoe surgery: Cutout and padding over callous or corns

Q What can be done if I have tried all of those things you mentioned – but I don’t want to cut on my shoes?

Foot Surgery: Remove bony prominences & correct fixed deformities. It is best to see your doctor!

Q I don’t like any of the permanent options – Are there any temporary measures to relieve corn pain?

2. Temporary Relief of Corn Pain & Pressure:

Soak and trim to remove size and give space in shoe

Corn pads to spread the pressure over the prominence

Taping to correct deformity and remove the pressure

Q What can you tell us about CLAW TOES that cause foot pain?

Description of Claw toes

Treatment of Claw toes

1. Methods of Avoiding Pressure:

a) Sandals or wide roomy shoes

b) Tape toes to correct the claw

c) Surgery to correct the deformity

Q Can I just live with my Claw toes?

2. Methods of Living with Claw toes:

a) Corn pads over the bony prominence

b) Special fit shoes that accommodate the foot

c) Soak and trim callouses to relieve pressure

Q What are the Causes of Toenail Deformities?

1. Poor blood flow - hardening of the arteries.

2. Fungus Infection

3. Nutritional Deficiencies

4. Injury to nail bed

5. Subungal Exostosis

6. Familial tendency

Q What are the Treatments for Toenail Deformities?

1. Increase blood flow to nails:

Exercise: Walking, Swimming, or Cycling

Nutrition: Unrefined Diet increases blood flow. Vitamin E may raise HDL- cholesterol levels in younger individuals with initially low HDL levels. Copper deficiency correction may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower serum cholesterol, raise HDL-cholesterol, prevent cardiac arrhythmias, ameliorate hyperglycemia, and lower serum uric acid levels.

Treatment of Toenail Deformities Blood flow - continued:

Lcarnitine 500-4,000 mg/day.

Folic acid 15 - 75 my/day, have been reported to be of value. Folic acid may function both as a vasodialtor and as an inhibitor of the vascular damage caused by bovine xanthine oxidase (from homogenized milk).

Magnesium 250 - 600 mg/day beneficial in acute myocardial infarction, cardiac arrhythmias, angina, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, stroke, intermittent caludication. Numerous studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of magnesium in cardiovascular disease, however, one study found that magnesium supplements increased the risk of a second heart attack.

magnesium increases HDL- cholesterol levels.

Selenium 100-250 mcg/day

Q Are there any other treatments for toenail deformities other than blood flow considerations?

Treatment of Toenail Deformities:

2. Anti-fungal Treatments:

Remove fungus infested nail

Daily treatment with UV, Iodine, or garlic and sunlight

Change shoes and socks daily - rotate shoes to control shoe moisture or use sandals

Avoid systemic anti-fungal medication - liver damage

Q Does diet have anything to do with Toenails?

3. Nutritional Treatment:

Brittle nails:

Silicon 1-2 mg/day.

Biotin 2.5 mg/day -(may also help hair growth).

Q What are Heel Spurs?

Heel spurs are also flag wavers like callouses. A heel spur is functionally like a callous on your heel bone. It is the inflammation that causes the pain.

Q What can you do about heel spurs?

Physical Treatment of Bursitis and Heelspurs

1. Anti-inflammatory methods:

For bursitis: Alternate Hot and Cold.

For Heel Spurs, Heel cup or padding, Alternate Hot and Cold and stretching of heel cord. Night splint prevents tightening.

2. General Exercise:





Q Can you describe how you do hot and cold to the feet?

Physical Therapy Anti-inflammatory Home Treatments:

Need two basins of water - hot and cold.

Start with warm or hot for 3 minutes.

Change to cold for 30 seconds.

Three changes between hot and cold.

End with cold.

Treat one to three times a day for 1-3 weeks.

Q Can I give myself this treatment if I am a diabetic?

Diabetics and hypertensives need medical clearance to give themselves this treatment.

Q What can I do for bursitis and other inflammatory conditions that cause painful feet?

Exercise Treatment of Bursitis and Inflammatory Conditions.

1. Walking is the best and requires no special equipment.

2. Swimming is excellent but requires special facilities.

3. Cycling is excellent for those with good balance. Swimming and cycling rest the feet while exercising.

Q Are there any natural or nutritional treatment for bursitis or heelspurs?

Nutritional Treatment of Bursitis and Heelspurs:

1. For bursitis: Vitamin B12 (1,000 mg/ml) 1 ml IM daily for 10-14 days, then taper according to response.

For Heel Spurs, 1 ml B-12 daily for 30 days, then taper according to response.

2. HCl if hypochlorydic. Betaine hydrochloride

3. Topical: apply vitamin E oil, followed by 50-70% DMSO. Apply 2-3 times a day for 1-3 weeks.

NEWSTART radio program 8-10-99, March 10, 2002