Feet are two of the most abused and often used parts of the body, what with all the walking and running that you do everyday. They take the weight of your whole body, so foot problems can quickly lead to discomfort and affect the way you walk and this can in turn cause knee, hip and back pain. Research from The College of Podiatry shows that nine in 10 of us experience some sort of foot problem, with one in five admitting to suffering with foot pain often or constantly. This research shows is that a huge amount of people are willing to put up with sore, aching and painful feet.

Looking after your feet is one of the most important aspects of personal health care, whatever your age. Often the discomfort your are experiencing is usually because you aren’t wearing the right footwear. Always use the correct shoe for the correct sport, as the wrong shoes can lead to injury. These days, there is virtually a type of shoe for every sport but all of them have certain characteristics to cushion your feet. Some will also have ankle support, for sports involving many changes of direction. Always seek expert opinion, the right footwear whilst exercising is important, your personal trainer should be able advise you with regard to this.

Feet and legs need training and looking after and you should always allow enough time to warm up and warm down before and after exercise, too much too soon and your feet and legs will get tired and be predisposed to injury. Your feet are designed for sporting activity, but the demands placed on them are heavy. For each mile you run, your feet will hit the ground about 1,500 times and with each step, your foot will absorb a force several times your body weight. An 11 stone man of average size will process 112 tonnes of weight through each limb per mile. Once again the correct footwear is of the upmost importance.

Our bodies react to uneven balance while wearing heels by bending the hips and spine, and tensing our calf, hip and back muscles. Wearing heels frequently, particularly pairs which are two inches or higher that can cause your feet to slip forward, has been linked to injured leg muscles, osteoarthritis of the knee and lower back pain. High heels can also contribute to the development of feet bunions – a bony deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe. Over time the tendon in your Achilles heel can shorten, as well as muscles in your calves and back. By switching to flat shoes or by trying to stretch out these areas again can lead to pain, and plantar fasciitis which is pain in the heel and/or bottom of the foot.

People with diabetes have a much greater risk of developing problems with their feet, due to the damage raised blood sugars can cause to sensation and circulation and are encouraged to keep an eye on their feet and getting a quality foot check from a properly trained person at least once a year. Being active improves blood flow to the feet.

Don’t be tempted to take your feet for granted, a healthy pair of feet are your best friend. Treat them properly, maybe a massage and pedicure now and again and your feet will give you a lifetime of fun filled sport or pain free workout.