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La Clinica

Woman Suffering from Foot Pain

Physical Therapy for Foot Pain

The typical American walks more than 3000 steps each day. It’s therefore not surprising that many people experience foot pain at some point in their lives. Your foot acts as a rigid structure for weight bearing when you are moving around. It also functions as a flexible structure to help you walk on uneven terrain.

Foot pain can lower your quality of life and hinder daily activities such as exercising, driving, walking, working, cycling, hiking, and more. That’s why you should seek immediate treatment to restore your quality of life. Physical therapy is perhaps one of the most effective treatments for foot pain. Here is your definitive guide to physical therapy for foot pain.

Physical therapist treating foot pain

What Causes Foot Pain?

Your foot is part of a complex system consisting of 33 joints, 112 ligaments, and 28 bones. It has 21 intrinsic and 13 extrinsic muscles. The foot is a weight-bearing and flexible structure that supports body weight, provides balance, absorbs shock, and transfers ground reaction forces.

Since it is one of the most overused structures in your body, the foot is susceptible to injuries and diseases. Discover the most common causes of foot pain below.

Sprains and Strains

A foot strain occurs when the tendons and muscles in the foot stretch or tear. Usually, foot strains occur when the foot rolls outwards or inwards due to stepping on uneven terrain. On the other hand, a foot sprain occurs when the ligaments in the foot stretch or tear. Sprains usually happen when the foot or ankle twists or turns beyond the normal range of motion. Strains and sprains can be painful and may hinder movement. You might also notice bruising and swelling on the inside or outside of your foot.

Fractures

Common foot fractures include metatarsal, toe, sesamoid, and calcaneus fractures. These fractures are usually caused by falls, direct impacts, and twisting. Fractures of the foot can be extremely painful, especially when you put weight on your foot.  

Health professional looking at bone fracture image

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis, popularly known as policeman’s heel, occurs due to inflammation of the tissues that connect the heel bone to the toes. It is usually characterized by stabbing pain near the heel.

Blisters

Most people usually experience blisters after exercising, walking, standing, or running for several hours. It is common among individuals who sweat a lot or wear ill-fitting shoes. Although you might be tempted to burst your blisters, it is advisable to let them heal on their own. Above all,  speak with a doctor if you experience blisters from time to time.

Heel Spur

A heel spur usually occurs near the heel bone due to the build-up of calcium deposits on the heel. In most cases, a heel spur is caused by ill-fitting shoes. It can be painful to some individuals.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis or PsA is a genetic condition that occurs due to joint inflammation and skin disorder. It is usually characterized by throbbing pain and stiffness.

Bursitis

Bursitis occurs when the tendons in the foot rub against the fluid-filled pads called bursae, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Tendinitis

Tendinitis occurs when the tendons in the foot become inflamed. This condition often develops due to repetitive movements, strains, or excessive exercise. It is characterized by a dull ache, mild swelling, and tenderness.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy usually occurs due to nerve damage. This condition results from injuries, diabetes, and infections. General weakness and numbness are the most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

How to Deal With Foot Pain at Home

These self-care treatments for foot pain can help you manage the pain and inflammation.

  • Apply ice three to four times a day for approximately 15 minutes each time
  • You can use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Place orthotics in your shoes to support the heel
  • Wear a splint at night to minimize discomfort
  • Avoid high-impact activities like exercises and running

Treating foot pain by applying ice on foot

Best Medical Treatment Options for Foot Pain

If these home treatments are unsuccessful, it would be best to see a medical professional immediately. Common medical treatments for foot pain include surgery, steroid injections, and physical therapy. However, steroid injections can weaken your fascia when used too frequently. Even though surgery might be effective, it’s best to use it as a possible last resort. That leaves us with physical therapy.

To help you overcome foot pain, the physical therapist will recommend a combination of therapeutic modalities like massage and strengthening and stretching exercises. Here is why physical therapy is the best treatment for foot pain.

Related: Best Physical Therapists Throughout Illinois

Customized to Your Individual Needs

Unlike other treatment options, physical therapy can be customized depending on your unique situation. Our physical therapists will conduct various tests to identify injuries or underlying diseases and conditions causing the pain. After that, they will devise an individualized course of treatment to improve your quality of life.

Avoid Surgery

Physical therapy can help you avoid surgery. Our physical therapists will customize an individual care plan to help you manage the pain, reduce inflammation, and enhance mobility. They can also recommend assistive devices and orthotics to speed up healing. Even when surgery is required, physical therapists can help you prepare for the surgery.

Physical Therapy for Foot Pain

Reduced Need for Opioids

Although prescription opioids are usually safe to take for a short time, they can quickly lead to physical dependence if misused. The CDC reports that over 11 million Americans have an opioid use disorder. With physical therapy, you can manage your pain without using opioids.

Improves Balance

Your physical therapist will screen you for fall risk and recommend exercises to improve your balance. The therapists can also prescribe assistive and coordination devices to prevent falls.

Get Reliable Physical Therapy for Foot Pain Near You Today

If you are dealing with persistent foot pain, it can quickly lower your quality of life and hinder everyday movements. Fortunately, physical therapy exercises and modalities can help you overcome the pain and even prevent the condition from becoming worse. Our team of experts at La Clínica is ready to help you overcome foot pain with the proper training, assistive devices, and exercises. Schedule your apportionment with us today to deal with your foot pain once and for all.