Foot Pain and Soreness
Painful, sore feet are very common. According to the 2012 National Foot Health Assessment conducted by the NPD Group for the Institute for Preventive Foot Health, 61 percent of adults in the United States ages 21 and older (135 million people) have experienced foot pain, soreness or discomfort.
Soreness can affect any part of the foot, but often it can be traced to the weight-bearing areas--the forefoot (ball), and the rear foot (heel). These areas are protected on the plantar surface (bottom of the foot) by fat pads. Although these fat pads are thick and protective during infancy and childhood, by the time we reach our mid-thirties, they begin to deteriorate and lose their protective capability.
By age 50, people can lose as much as half of their fat padding in the ball and heel areas. Combined with fat pad loss, other physiological changes in the feet (weakening of muscles, loss of resiliency of tendons and ligaments, and spreading of the feet due to weight gain) make the feet more vulnerable to soreness and pain.
Soreness may also emanate from the arch area. Occasional soreness is harmless. But, if it worsens and becomes very painful, it can affect your ability to work, exercise or engage in recreational activities.