Foot pain is a common problem that can improve in a few days, bother you for months or linger for years. Plantar fasciitis is often a culprit, but excess weight, tight leg muscles, overuse, sensitive nerves or simply too much standing can all lead to heel pain. No matter the cause, the solutions to relieve the pain can be simpler than you think.
How to treat foot pain
“The key to treating pain is finding the contributing factors to identify the underlying causes,” says Shane McClinton, D.P.T., PhD, OCS, FAAOMPT, physical therapist at Des Moines University Clinic. “Once we pinpoint the cause, we can find the most efficient and effective solutions. It can be as simple as finding a better-fitting shoe. A good orthotic and proper shoe fit are important. If you build a house on a sandy foundation, it doesn’t work. You need a solid foundation.”
Other important factors related to foot pain include other problems or injuries, such as back, knee, or hip pain that change the way the foot functions during daily or recreational activities. Small problems affecting the way your body moves and functions can create a big pain in the foot. A physical therapist can help to detect the areas of the body that are not moving well enough to allow your foot to function properly. In addition to footwear modifications, hands-on treatment, improvement movement patterns, and specific exercises can help the foot to heal.
Exercises for foot pain
Exercise is an important part of the solution. Your feet may need a temporary break to get over the pain, but prolonged inactivity and limping can cause inflexibility, weakness, nerve sensitivity and an unhealthy foot. It is critical to address the problem right away so that you can gradually resume activity as soon as possible to avoid long-term consequences of inactivity. Both podiatrists and physical therapists can help you find ways to stay active while you heal and provide exercises to regain strength, flexibility and function.
The longer foot pain lasts, the harder it can be to manage. Don’t wait or suffer for long periods of time; if symptoms persist for more than a week, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist or physical therapist.
Do you suffer from foot pain that keeps you from enjoying every day life? Our exceptional physical therapists and podiatrists are experts in running and cycling injuries and rehabilitation, and can create a treatment program specifically for your activities and goals. For more information, visit the Des Moines University Physical Therapy Clinic website, the Foot and Ankle Clinic or call 515-271-1700.