Foot pain problems can be just the beginning.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Aside from the next few days, spring weather is upon us. That means more people will be outside exercising, doing yard work and gardening. It's also the time of year doctors see more people complaining about foot and ankle pain.

According to the American Orthopedic Association, 77 percent of Americans experience significant foot pain during their life but more than two-thirds avoid seeking treatment.

"They certainly try to wait it out unless it becomes so severe that it affects their daily living, so it's not uncommon that we'll see patients who've been dealing with foot pain for many months, maybe even many years," Dr. Greg Kirwan says.

Kirwan is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in the foot and ankle at Sports Medicine Specialists of Green Bay.

From ankle sprains to plantar fasciitis and bunions, he says your feet can face a lot of potential issues.

"A challenging diagnosis for foot pain, you can have a lot of chronic, medical conditions like diabetes, neuropathy, present itself as pain in the foot, but you can also have acute sports injuries and also chronic conditions such as arthritis, bunions and other chronic problems."

Dr. Kirwan says keys to avoiding problems include wearing the proper footwear and losing weight to avoid stress on your feet.

"It's about 5 to 7 times your body weight on your feet when you walk and about double that when you run."

He also warns that constant foot pain can lead to knee and back problems.

"If you have chronic pain in the same location or pain with physical activity that may last for a few days and then go away and then return whenever you try to be physically active, that would be a case where you'd want to get looked at by the orthopedic."

Kirwan says because of the constant impact the foot receives, you can't treat it like other joints.