Foot pain can be an overwhelming experience all by itself. After all, the sheer number of tasks that can require walking or standing during a given day is staggering. Add trying to determine the right course of action to treat and remedy that foot pain, and you’ve just doubled your stress.
Should you go to a doctor? How should you prepare for your visit? Which home remedies are effective, and which ones aren’t worth the bother? Is that miracle cure really a miracle–or a waste of money?
Making the right choices when it comes to treating your foot pain can have significant consequences in how fast you heal, whether additional complications arise, and how much time and money you use in the process.
If you’re experiencing foot pain, keep the following best practices in mind as you choose your foot pain treatment:
Important Steps in Diagnosing Your Foot Pain
A few simple steps can help you or your doctor diagnose your foot pain effectively and quickly!
Document, Document, Document
First, take a few minutes to document all the symptoms you’ve been experiencing. Start a document to jot down your thoughts, information about your symptoms, and any articles you find and might want to reference later. This will help give you a baseline to refer back to as symptoms change, when you see a doctor, or when you try different treatment options.
As you write down your symptoms, make sure to note how long you’ve been experiencing them, whether anything in particular makes them feel better or worse, whether one or both feet are affected, how severe the symptoms are, whether they have changed over time, and what you’ve tried so far in treating them.
Cataloging your symptoms is the first step in diagnosing the problem–whether that’s a self-diagnosis for mild symptoms, or consulting with your doctor to diagnose your foot pain in an office setting.
Research, Research, Research
When you’ve made a complete inventory of your foot pain symptoms and the ways they are presenting, take your notes to the research phase. Use reputable sites like Mayoclinic.com or WebMD.com to search for your symptoms, starting with the most severe and working your way down to less noticeable symptoms.
If your symptoms are mild or just beginning, you can explore treatment options at home. If your symptoms are severe or your research leads you to believe that they may be signs of a break, fracture, or other condition that requires medical intervention, make an appointment with your doctor right away. The good news is, the majority of foot-related ailments, such as plantar fasciitis, hammer toe, and mild sprains can be treated in the comfort of your home without the cost of medical intervention.
Choosing the Right Foot Pain Treatment
Once you have a good idea what you’re dealing with when it comes to your foot pain, it’s time to determine a good course of treatment:
Identify Proven Treatment Methods from Multiple Sources
Your health is of the utmost importance! Approach your research into potential foot pain treatments with the same diligence you’d approach buying a new car or house. Take your advice from scientific journals, medical websites, and reviews from real people who have used a particular product or method. Don’t be swayed by a smooth sales pitch or big promises.
Don’t Discount At-Home Remedies for Foot Pain
Remember, most cases of foot pain can be resolved simply, with at-home, conservative methods. While foot pain can be scary, jumping directly to medical intervention can be both painful and costly. Depending on your unique situation and the severity of your symptoms, start with the most conservative and proven methods of treatment you can find. If you aren’t experiencing relief, it may be necessary to consider more invasive treatments.
Give It Time
This is important. Remember, for many common foot conditions (like hammer toe and plantar fasciitis), your foot pain is the result of strain and injury that has compounded over time, resulting in injury and pain. On the flip side, treatment and healing will take some time as well. Stay dedicated to proven treatment methods, and be patient with your chosen course. If your symptoms aren’t improving as time goes by (many courses of treatment can take 3-6 months), it’s time to see a doctor for potential medical interventions.
Foot pain is always concerning. But by taking a calculated approach to documenting your symptoms and researching treatment methods, you’ll be a step ahead in resolving your pain and getting back on your feet!