Walking can lead to aches and a burning sensation, especially when walking for long distances. These uncomfortable side effects can make walking, be it for exercise or leisure, an unpleasant activity. The causes for foot aches and inflammation are varied, so you must correctly identify what spurs these symptoms to properly treat your feet. In most cases, foot aches and burning are not a serious health problem, but speak to your doctor if you experience them on a regular basis.
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One reason for aching and burning feet is shoes that do not fit properly. Shoes that are too tight can cause discomfort and impede your walking form. Some walkers force themselves to walk in new shoes that are too tight, believing that the shoe will break in and conform to the foot. Never buy shoes that do not fit properly and comfortably from the moment you first try them. Select a pair of athletic shoes that provide a snug fit but not so snug that they crowd your toes or press against the sides of your feet.
Burning sensations often develop when shoes don't provide proper ventilation to keep your feet cool. Most athletic walking and running shoes feature a mesh upper that allows air to pass. The mesh lets fresh air enter the shoe and helps evaporate perspiration. If your feet are too sweaty, friction between your feet and the shoe increases, which can cause a burning and itching feeling. Wear walking shoes that provide some type of ventilation system, and wear breathable socks that can contribute to water evaporation. Cotton socks are, in such cases, generally better than nylon socks.
Start slowly. Though walking may seem like an effortless physical activity compared to other exercises, it can take a toll on your body, especially your joints and feet. Treat your walking program as you would a more strenuous exercise program and set small goals at first. Begin by walking 15 minutes per session in the first week and add 2 to 3 minutes to your walks every week. This way, your feet gradually become accustomed to your new routine, and you'll reduce the chance of developing aches and burning sensations.
Feet have three primary arch types: neutral arched, low-arched -- also called flat fleet -- and high-arched.. None of these arch types automatically mean that you will have problems when walking, but extremely flat feet or high-arched feet can cause severe foot aches. The key is to wear shoes that properly support your arch type. Many athletic shoes are designed with specific arch types in mind. You can also turn to insoles for further support. Insoles are commonly made from soft synthetic material or gel pads; slide them into the shoe to support your arch.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.