It's generally estimated that around 3 out of every 4 Canadians experience pained feet at some point in their life. This ache or pain may range from mild discomfort that fades as you put your feet up for the day to severe pain that may last anywhere from hours to weeks, months or longer.
Thankfully, regardless of the severity, physiotherapists are able to identify the cause of and treat pain in your feet to help ensure that it goes away and stays away.
Common Kinds of Pain or Aches in Your Feet
Aches and pains in the feet may express themselves in a number of ways depending on the root cause of your pain. The following are a few examples of some of the most common varieties of foot pain, their root cause and when it's time to book an appointment with your physical therapist.
Also called tendinopathy, this condition is the result of an injury and subsequent inflammation in your Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is a large tendon that connects the back of your calf to the back of your heel and is instrumental to your ability to walk properly.
This condition generally expresses itself as stiffness and pain in the area surrounding this tendon, especially during activity and in the morning.
This injury is most often the result of repetitive strain to the tendon, often by ramping up physical activity like running or hiking without much preparation or training.
It is relatively simple to treat early using at-home remedies such as icing to dispel the pain. However, if you let achilles tendinitis develop for too long without seeing a healthcare professional, it may progress into a serious and chronic source of long-lasting pain.
This condition is a painful inflammation of the ball of your foot, often caused by participating in activities with lots of running and jumping or by wearing shoes that are too tight for your foot.
Metatarsalgia will often express itself as a shape, stabbing pain that occurs when you flex or engage your foot while walking in addition to numbness and tingling in the toes.
While this condition can be managed with at-home remedies like icing and by wearing a well-fitted shoe with lots of foot support, physiotherapy is a surefire way to alleviate your pain and ensure you don't reinjure yourself in the future.
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom arch of your foot that is commonly called the plantar fascia. This inflammation results from small tears in its tendons and ligaments.
The pain caused by this condition generally appears as a sharp and significant pain in your heels in the morning (especially as you take your first few steps out of bed). Throughout the rest of the day, it will subside into a dull ache and bruising as the consistent use of the injured foot worsens the injury.
As soon as you notice this kind of pain, contact a physical therapist as soon as possible. Plantar fasciitis can become constant if not promptly identified and addressed.
Physiotherapy Foot and Ankle Pain Treatments
As with any physical therapy, the kind of injury or pain you are experiencing will be the biggest determinant of the kind of treatment you will receive for your foot ache or pain.
With all of that being said, there are a number of commonly occurring treatments and tests that will be run by a physiotherapist in order to address aches, pains, injuries and more affecting the feet.
Passive physical therapies such as hot and cold packs will be administered and the physical mobilization or manipulation of the affected tissues and joints may be used. Dry needling is used to release the tight muscles, predominantly the calf. The persistent, long-standing difficulty presented by tendinitis and plantar fasciitis, may benefit from Radial Shockwave Therapy.
Our Manotick physiotherapists will also conduct testing like gait analysis (the examination of how you walk or run and how it may be contributing to a recurring injury) to determine the root cause of your injury if it isn't obvious. Then, we will work with you to prescribe a set of exercises that are tailored to your needs, and your specific injury and improve your gait in order to ensure that you don't reinjured yourself in the future.