Foot and Ankle Pain Relief
The foot and ankle work together. As a matter of fact, without the ankle the foot couldn’t move. The ankle allows the foot to have side to side movement. Although the foot and ankle are a small part of the body, they are complex body parts. Together, there are over 100 ligaments, tendons and muscles, 33 joints and 26 bones in the foot and ankle.
The Causes and Symptoms of Foot Pain
There are a variety of conditions that set the stage for foot pain. Overuse, injury, or conditions causing inflammation like arthritis can cause foot pain. An injury to the foot may result in intense pain or even tingling. Here’s a list of some common causes of foot pain:
- Achilles tendon rupture
- Bone spurs
- Flat Feet
- Achilles tendinitis
- Avulsion fracture
- plantar fasciitis
A foot fracture is the most common broken bone. That’s because the feet are your standing platform and are responsible for getting you around. Typically, there is pain, inflammation and bruising. An Achilles tendon rupture often occurs during recreational sports. It occurs when the Achilles tendon is overstretched and tears. Symptoms include pain near the heel, an inability to bend the foot forward and an inability to stand on the toes.
Bursitis can affect the foot and ankle joints. The fluid-filled cushions that protect the joints become irritated and inflamed and decrease the foot’s ability to absorb shock. The joints also cannot move smoothly. There may be pain in the heel of the foot, ball of the foot or base of the big toe joint. Bursitis in the foot can be due to aging, sports injury or a sudden twist of the foot or ankle.
Achilles tendinitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles tendon. It’s associated with those who play tennis and basketball or with runners. Pain is often felts above the heel. There may also be tenderness or stiffness.
A bone spur is a tiny pointed outgrowth of bone, and this can occur in the foot. Bone spurs can be caused by arthritis and tendinitis. They are common around the heel bone of the foot and can cause foot pain, numbness and tenderness.
People with flat feet don’t have much or any of a foot arch. Symptoms include pain, achiness in the feet or difficulty standing on the toes. Flatfeet may be congenital or be cause by a fractured foot or torn ligament in the foot.
Physical Therapy for Foot Pain
Not all foot injuries or conditions are treated just at the site of foot pain by a physical therapist. A skilled physical therapist will identify the root cause of the pain and provide a treatment plan that treats the whole body as a movement system. A thorough evaluation is done by a physical therapist, including an in-depth gait analysis. An individualized treatment plan is developed, which targets the injury. For example, Achilles injury physical therapy will include stretching and strengthening of the Achilles tendon along with the quadriceps.
Passive physical therapy modalities may include massage, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and cold and heat treatment. All of these methods reduce inflammation, reduce pain and improve mobility. Overall, physical therapy is a multi-faceted science that has been proven effective. Medical research has shown physical therapy to be an effective treatment with positive long-term outcomes for patients with foot pain.