Pain 101: Foot Pain
What is Foot Pain?
Foot pain may come in many different forms and can be the result of a variety of different problems. Pain in the foot can be extremely debilitating and can severely limit one’s enjoyment of daily activities.
Types of Foot Pain
Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the connective tissue layers that runs across the bottom of the foot. It may cause sharp pain in the heels and arches when walking or standing, especially at first step in the morning. Heel pain and heel spurs are associated with this diagnosis.
Heel Pain can be a symptom of a number of problems including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis and stress fracture.
High Arches (Pes Cavus) is a condition in which the foot has a very high arch which creates an excessive amount of force/weight on the ball and heel of the foot when walking or standing leading to pain and instability. Flat Feet (Pes Planus) or “Fallen Arches” is used to describe a flatfoot condition which can lead to pain and irritation in the foot.
Morton’s Neuroma describes a nerve which is pinched/injured in the forefoot (balls of feet). Symptoms include pain and foot numbness that radiates into the toes.
Hallux Valgus or Rigids is a common problem in the big toe where the toe will point in and the joint migrates outward leading to pain or the joint becomes extremely stiff and loses mobility.
Metatarsalgia is a term used to describe impingement of the nerves in the feet causing dull aches or sharp pains through the bottom of the foot and numbness in the toes.
STEPS TO FOOT PAIN
It is important when you are experiencing foot pain to limit your activity and rest so the foot can heal.
Apply cold packs to your foot to help decrease pain and inflammation. To prevent damage to skin and surrounding tissue, cold packs should only be applied in 15 minute intervals.
If you don’t have increased pain with movement, stretching and increasing the range of motion of the foot can be the first step in helping to improve mobility and decrease the pain.
Physical therapy consists of hands-on treatment to loosen muscles and joints, education on proper gait and movement to decrease pain, instruction on stretching and strengthening exercises to restore mobility and strength, and modalities such as electrical stimulation, cold/heat and ultrasound.
FOOT PAIN EXERCISES
Following are a few exercises you can perform that may help alleviate pain. Please go to LIFE+ for more videos that may help you. Please consult your physician before trying these, and stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.