Everyone, at some point, experiences foot pain that can keep them from engaging in the activities they love. For people with a regular, highly active lifestyle, persistent pain in the feet is both a reality and a frustrating disruption to your recreation time. There are, of course, a ton of different causes of pain in the foot--from stress injuries to long term foot conditions like plantar fasciitis, but the purpose of this post is to get past that pain and back to activity.
Usually the best way to approach foot pain is to approach it like any other kind of pain: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If you injured your foot running or playing basketball this all around treatment can typically alleviate a lot of the swelling and get you moving again within a day or two. This treatment is a good first step, but by no means a comprehensive solution if you've seriously injured yourself. If the injury and the pain is noticeably worse after a couple days or you can't even get off the couch, it might be time for a trip to the doctor. Lesson number one is to always listen to your body. This goes for training as well, since a lot of foot pain can be attributed to repetitive stress injuries. The feet are pretty resilient and that is why it often takes a long time before signs of stress appear. Between walking and standing around all day and then going on a hike or hitting the tennis courts, the feet are on call all of the time. This a reason why foot pain can be such a problem.
Stretching well before any activity is always essential for optimal performance. Tearing muscles while exercising is common even after stretching well. This can also apply to the feet--especially if you experience regular pain. Stretching the plantar fascia tendon running along the bottom of the foot by wrapping a towel around the toes and slowly pulling the towel towards your body is a good way to flex the tendon before exercise. Doing some heel raises is also beneficial to getting the achilles tendon and calf muscles loosened up before you launch into any activity. The more versatile your stretching routine, the better. For comprehensive, dynamic athletic performance, you need comprehensive preparation. This is where the second and final lesson comes in: wear quality shoes.
I won't go into too much detail as to what kinds of shoes you should wear because every activity has specialized footwear, but there are a couple qualities in shoes that will make your athletic experience more robust. For starters, always wear shoes that are well supported in the arch and heel. Having this support with effectively cushion your foot as you're bounding up and down the court or trudging up rugged trails. Secondly, if you have pain in the bottom of the foot, there are a lot of great shoes for plantar fasciitis that have features to treat that pain and still allow you to perform well. The point is, when you lead an active life, foot pain is an inconvenience that can be easily resolved with a little patience and some extra physical care.