One common issue that many people experience is pain in the bottom or heel area, which tends to intensify particularly during the first few steps taken in the morning or when standing up or walking after prolonged periods of sitting. This discomfort often arises due to several factors, including inflammation, foot structure, and excessive strain on the feet. It is important to address this problem promptly to prevent it from becoming more severe.
The Plantar Fascia, a strong band of connective tissue that stretches from the heel to the metatarsal heads (the pads of the feet), can experience inflammation due to excessive stress on the foot’s arch. This inflammation often leads to discomfort and pain.
There are numerous factors that can increase the risk of foot and ankle injuries. Overuse is one such factor, where repetitive strain on the feet and ankles can lead to various injuries. Another risk factor is having either flat feet or high arched feet, which can place extra stress on these areas and make them more prone to injury. Limited ankle range of motion is also a contributing factor, as it can lead to instability and decreased support in the foot and ankle. Wearing improper footwear, such as shoes that don’t provide adequate support or those that are worn out, can increase the risk of injuries as well. Additionally, rapidly increasing activity levels without giving the body enough time to adapt can put excessive strain on the feet and ankles. Poor body mechanics, such as inefficient movement patterns, can also contribute to foot and ankle injuries. Some individuals may have foot and ankle instability due to rigid joints in these areas, making them more susceptible to injuries. High BMI levels can also increase the risk, as excess weight places additional stress on the feet and ankles. Lastly, occupations that require long periods of standing or walking can also heighten the risk of foot and ankle injuries. It is important to be aware of these risk factors and take necessary precautions to prevent or minimize the occurrence of injuries.
Symptoms: First step upon rising or standing/walking can result in sharp pain that becomes acutely uncomfortable when walking barefoot or wearing shoes without adequate cushioning. This ache and burning may increase when walking barefoot or wearing footwear without sufficient padding.
Treatment: Our physical therapist will examine each patient to identify the source of pain and how best to relieve it. Using manual therapy, stretching, and exercises we will work towards decreasing inflammation while increasing mobility and restoring function to affected areas.
Neuromuscular Reeducation: Patients will be taught to activate both the flexor and extensor muscles of the foot and retrain control of its arch through exercises such as “toe yoga” or heel raises with ball squeeze to activate posterior Tibialis muscles which in turn restore control over arch.
These interventions have proven to significantly reduce pain in patients due to central pain modulation and lowered levels of pain-producing metabolites.
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