For older people, it can often feel like the curse of middle age. But foot pain affects everyone – although the type you get varies depending on age and how you live.
A study has found middle-aged men are most likely to suffer from toe and toenail pain, particularly if they have arthritis or are obese.
Younger female joggers are more likely to be afflicted by pain in the ball of their foot or the arches, while drinking can cause heel pain, probably by damaging the nerves at the back of the foot.
While many may not want to know the pain which awaits them, the research by the University of Adelaide could help people change their activities to lower their risk.
Lead author Dr Tiffany Gill said: ‘Foot pain is a problem that is often under-recognised but can have a significant impact on daily life and activities.
‘By understanding the characteristics of those reporting that they have foot pain, we can potentially provide more targeted preventative strategies and treatments for at risk individuals.’
The study, published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, analysed data from 558 people suffering from foot pain.
It has previously been suggested that heel pain most often afflicts women in their forties and fifties with a ‘non-athletic background’.
Researchers found it does affect women more than men, as well as a higher proportion of people at high risk of harm from alcohol consumption, as drinking is linked to musculoskeletal pain.
Getting older makes your feet hurt because of increased stiffness of fatty tissues under the ball of the foot, and thickening skin where the heel meets the toes.
It means older people suffer more from pain at the front of their feet, while heel pain is more often seen in middle-aged women who are overweight.