We don't realize how much we rely on our feet until they start hurting. And by then, every step can be excruciating.

If you're suffering from foot pain, there may be a way to find relief without surgery.

The good news is most foot pain is caused by poorly fitting shoes. They're too high, too loose, or not giving your feet the support they need. So if your feet hurt, start by looking at the shoes you're wearing.

By last fall, both of Steve Rickard's feet ached with every step.

"It makes it where you can't concentrate. I mean, I found myself having more problems with the pain when I was dealing with customers and dealing with other people," said Steve Rickard.

The problem was bone growths on the back of Steve's heels that were wearing down his Achilles tendons.

Resurgen's Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Gary Stewart says too many people just suffer through foot pain.

"Most people are so afraid to go to the foot doctor because they heard about someone in the family who had horrible foot surgery and it didn't go well," said Dr. Gary Stewart.

Dr. Stewart says most people don't need an operation. He says for women, stepping away from high heels can relieve both forefoot and toe pain. For men, heel pain is often the problem. And both sexes, especially runners, struggle with plantar faciitis.

"It's almost like a tooth ache in your heel," said Stewart.

It's a painful tightening of the band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot.

"It's one of those things you wake up early in the morning, for the first twenty minutes, you can't walk.  You sit, you have your coffee, and then you start walking again, it's sore," said Stewart.

Dr. Stewart says stretching, easing up on your activity, and losing weight can help ease the tightening. Rickard's problem required surgery.

"I feel great just walking! I don't think I'll ever take walking for granted again," said Rickard.

Dr. Stewart says the best home remedy for foot pain is stretching. Icing your feet and wearing shoe inserts can also help. Some people wear splints at night to stretch out their feet.

If you've tried all that and your foot pain has been going on for more than two weeks, you may want to see your doctor.

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