Strike Out Foot Pain

Bowling was big in Columbus last week as a great activity for those looking to beat the heat. This past Saturday was the annual Bowling for Rhinos fundraiser thrown by the Columbus Zoo to raise money for the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya and the International Rhino Foundation. If your feet aren’t sore from all the strikes and spares at that event, the 2013 Bowling’s United States Open is being held at several bowling centers around Columbus throughout the week. For bowlers, good foot health is imperative to maintain the pain-free motion required for an effective throw of the ball.

While bowling is a relatively low impact activity, the repetitive nature of the required foot motion puts those playing regularly at risk of a sports injury. With one foot repetitively sliding, excess pressure is placed on the plantar, or bottom aspect of the foot. In response to pressure, the top layer of skin cells, the stratum corneum, builds up to protect underlying tissues. This excess of hardened skin is commonly called a callus or corn. Not only are these areas often painful with continued pressure, in individuals with peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes or other causes, there is a risk of skin ulceration. Pain from calluses may be relieved with regular use of a pumice stone or a daily application of a cream that may be dispensed by your podiatrist. Custom foot orthotics can also provide pain relief, in addition to relieving the area of increased pressure causing the skin buildup. Depending on the underlying cause of the callus, orthotics created may be stiff and act to improve the function of the foot, or softer and accommodative of the deformity causing the pressure.

In the non-sliding foot, another repetitive motion is occurring: push-off from the big toe. This motion can result in a jamming of the joint at the base of the big toe and eventual development of arthritis. This condition, in which joint motion becomes limited and often painful, is called hallux limitus. While the toe push-off motion is unavoidable during bowling, custom orthotics can be created with modifications to limit pain and progression of arthritis. If big toe arthritis progresses to become unbearably painful, more invasive treatments including injections or surgery may be necessary. Taking good care of your feet and addressing problems when they first begin will allow bowlers to continue striking out the competition in all of their upcoming matches!

Please visit for more tips for healthier and happier feet or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia