Q – I’ve started training for a charity run but why do I get pain in my heels when I get up after rest ?

A – You may be describing the symptoms of plantarfasciitis which is a common heel complaint due to ‘bruising’ at the attachment of the structures that support the foot. Often insufficient stretching exercise before/after activity does not give the flexibility in the structures when you weight-bear. Your individual biomechanical posture of your foot can be a reason why the problem may not go away. Often strapping or custom insoles to improve the foot function can solve the problem without needing injections or having to pull out of the event.

Q – Are bunions caused by bad fitting shoes ?

A – There is no research evidence to suggest footwear causes bunions (a deformity of the big toe joint) although narrow shoes will press on a prominent joint and cause inflammation. Bunions are hereditary due to family foot type.
Using a computer foot pressure scan, it is possible to measure the abnormal weightbearing pressures through individual contact points of the foot while walking that may lead to deformity. Custom insoles can help prevent juvenile bunions or alleviate the discomfort of those who have bunions. In the past surgery was not always successful but today minimal invasive corrective surgery results are better and recovery after surgery is quicker.

Q – My child is ‘sports mad’ but complains of knee and ankle pains, should they stop sport ?

A – Children who enjoy regular sport during the ages of 10-16 may experience ‘growing pains’ around the time of growth spurts. The long bones in the legs grow in length and the muscles can’t keep up – this causes tension in the tendons where they attach near the knee and ankle. Podiatry assessment will identify the need for a combination of stretching exercise programme during the growing years, footwear advice and taping/night splints to enable the child to continue with their activity as avoiding sport altogether can make the problem worse !