Skip to content

    Pain Management Health Center

    Font Size

    7 Ways to Prevent Foot Pain

    By Michelle Leifer
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by William Blahd, MD

    You’re likely to walk more than 100,000 miles over the course of your lifetime. That’s like circling the earth four times at the equator. But as important as your feet are, it’s all too easy to neglect them -- until they start to hurt.

    You can take some steps to avoid getting foot pain, though. Here are seven ways to support your feet, so they will continue to support you.

    Recommended Related to Pain Management

    Medical Marijuana

    More states are passing laws that allow people to use medical marijuana. So what does it treat, and who can and should use it? Pain is the main reason people ask for a prescription, says Barth Wilsey, MD, a pain medicine specialist at the University of California Davis Medical Center. It could be from headaches, a disease like cancer, or a long-term condition, like glaucoma or nerve pain. If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal and your doctor thinks it would help, you’ll get a...

    Read the Medical Marijuana article > >

    1. Stay at a Healthy Weight

    Your feet bear the weight of your entire body, and the more weight they support, the harder they need to work.

    “The best way to prevent foot pain is to keep your weight down,” says Paul Talusan, MD, clinical assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Michigan.

    You don't have to carry a lot of extra weight to feel an impact on your feet and ankles. As little as 20 pounds can change the way your foot functions, increase the force on your feet, and trigger pain.

    If foot pain is keeping you from exercising as part of your weight-loss efforts, try a low-impact sport like swimming.

    2. Boost Your Flexibility

    Your calf muscles may tighten as you get older, which puts more stress on the balls of your feet.

    “Stretching your calves on a regular basis can go a long way toward preventing foot pain,” Talusan says.

    He recommends the following stretch at least three times a day:

    • Stand with your toes on a step and your heels off the edge.
    • Slowly lower your heels down and hold for 10 seconds before lifting your heels to the starting position.
    • Repeat five to 10 times. Don't force your heel farther than it wants to go. If the movement is too much for both feet at once, do one foot at a time.

    3. Kick Your High-Heel Habit

    Heels might upgrade your outfit, but they can wreak havoc on your feet. One study found that it takes just 1 hour and 6 minutes of wearing them for the pain to kick in.

    “Squeezing your feet into pointy-toed heels can lead to a laundry list of ailments, from ingrown toenails, bunions, and blisters, to shortened calf muscles, back pain, and deformed toes,” says Talusan. “I strongly recommend that women not wear them.”

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    pain in brain and nerves
    Top causes and how to find relief.
    knee exercise
    8 exercises for less knee pain.
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
    chronic pain
    Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
    illustration of nerves in hand
    lumbar spine
    Woman opening window
    Man holding handful of pills
    Woman shopping for vegetables
    Sore feet with high heel shoes
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    man with a migraine