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If you suffer from foot pain, it is probably due to a common cause. These include tight shoes, standing for long periods of time, fallen arches, arthritic conditions of the foot or ankle, or overuse. There are, however, a few rare causes of foot pain, causes that your health care provider may not even consider. Here are three unusual reasons for your foot pain, and what you can do about them:
Not only do allergies cause sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and a scratchy throat, but they also cause a systemic inflammatory response. Allergies prompt the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, substances that can cause pain and inflammation of your bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons, including those in your feet and ankles.
If you notice foot pain during an allergic episode, take an over-the-counter antihistamine, which will help dampen systemic inflammation by inhibiting the release of cytokines.
Eating certain foods can also heighten your risk for developing foot and other pain. Foods such as tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers are in a class of foods known as nightshades. The skins in these foods contain substances known as solanines, which have been implicated in aggravating the pain of arthritis.
Cooking nightshade foods can help remove some of the solanines, so if you think that you may be sensitive to nightshade foods, eat them cooked instead of raw. To know with some degree of certainty if nightshades are causing your foot pain, stop eating them for a week or so. If you notice a dramatic relief in your symptoms, you may be sensitive to the effects of solanines.
Like with allergies, viral infections can also promote systemic inflammation, leading to body-wide pain, including foot pain. Taking pain relief medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help resolve your foot pain, and will also help reduce your fever.
Viral infections can also cause your feet and ankles to swell. This is sometimes causes by dehydration, so once you start drinking adequate amounts of fluids again, your foot swelling should diminish.
It is important to drink adequate amounts of fluids when you are sick because if you become dehydrated, your body will see this as a threat, and subsequently hold on to every drop of water that is in your body, leading to tissue swelling, and sometimes, urinary retention.
If you have chronic foot pain for no known reason, talk to your doctor about the above causes. The sooner the cause of your pain is identified and treated, the sooner you can resume your normal day-to-day activities without limitation or discomfort.