Are you having pain with walking, running or jumping? Aching or sharp pain in your arch? Pain in your heel with your first few steps in the morning? Foot pain and injuries are common, especially in sports that include running and jumping. Our feet take a lot of impact during these types of activities and it’s important to have healthy joints to stay active. At Symmetry Physical Therapy, we are specially trained in assessing the cause of your foot pain and creating a treatment plan for you so you can get back to doing what you love. Click here to schedule an appointment with us at our clinic located in Downtown Miami/Brickell! Keep reading below to find out what your experience will be with us.
What is Causing My Foot Pain?
Your physical therapist will spend the first day performing an initial evaluation to determine the cause of your foot pain. When assessing foot pain, it is important to know what the diagnosis is but your physical therapist will also evaluate you based on how you present as an individual. The first step is a thorough history which will ask about any previous injuries, surgeries, or medical conditions as well as questions about aggravating activities, your lifestyle and activity level. Come prepared to answer questions such as:
- How did the pain start?
- How long and how often have I been experiencing pain?
- What makes the pain better/worse?
- Where do I feel the pain?
- Do I notice any swelling?
- Do I experience numbness and tingling?
- What time of day is my pain better/worse?
- What kind of shoes do I wear daily/for exercise
Next, your therapist will perform movement and mobility assessments, strength testing, postural analysis, and special tests to determine structures that may be involved in causing your foot pain symptoms. Your therapist will observe how you sit, stand, walk, squat and whatever other activity that is important to you to perform. By observing your different postures in these positions, your therapist can determine what muscles you over or underuse and assess these areas further. Your therapist will also test your ability to hold positions as well to determine how strong these muscles are and if there are any muscular imbalances.
Muscle imbalances can present as one leg or side of the trunk being weaker than the other or that one muscle is tight and the opposite muscle is weak. Core strength deficits can lead to improper functioning of foot muscles which can stress certain parts of your foot more than others. Your physical therapist will take you through lower extremity and core strengthening exercises that are appropriate for your level. Your therapist will also test the range of motion of your foot and ankle to see if there are any limitations and determine if it’s due to changes in the joint or muscle tightness.
What Are Some Common Foot Pain Conditions That You Treat?
There are many different diagnoses related to foot pain. Four of the most common diagnoses for foot pain are achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and ankle instability. For all these conditions, surgery is normally not required and symptoms can be fully managed with physical therapy.
Physical Therapy for Achilles Tendinitis
Achilles Tendinopathy occurs when there is repetitive stress to the tendon of the calf muscles that inserts into the heel. Common stressors include running and jumping and you may feel sharp or aching pain at your heel. Your physical therapist will assess your strength and mobility of your feet and rest of your lower extremities to determine if you have any structural or strength deficits. Your physical therapist may also perform joint mobilizations to the ankle to increase range of motion and reduce pain. Exercises will include lower extremity and core strengthening exercises to help improve balance and running mechanics. Your therapist will also teach you pain management techniques to help reduce inflammation.
Physical Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis occurs when there is repetitive stress to the connective tissue on the bottom of the foot. This is usually aggravated by running, jumping, and improper footwear. You may feel sharp or aching pain in the arch of your foot. A common complaint is pain with the first few steps in the morning that improves as you move around more. Your physical therapist can help teach you strength and mobility exercises for the foot and ankle to improve alignment and activation of the muscles of the feet. Your therapist will also teach you techniques to manage inflammation.
Physical Therapy for Stress Fractures in the Foot
Stress fractures in the feet are commonly caused by trauma or repetitive overuse. Examples include running with improper footwear or improper mechanics. Your physician may choose to place you in a boot to help immobilize the area to facilitate healing. Your physical therapist will you help you gain any range of motion lost in the foot and ankle as well as improve your foot and lower extremity strength to improve your balance and walking.
Physical Therapy for Ankle Instability
Ankle instability occurs when the ligaments of the ankle are too loose, usually due to repetitive injuries and sprains. You may have difficulty balancing, walking and frequently roll your ankles. Your physical therapist will teach you core, lower extremity and foot strengthening exercises to help improve your balance and walking.
Click here to schedule an appointment with us to find out more how to manage your foot pain!