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Trouble walking the dog or to the mailbox because of foot pain?

By: Devin Wurman, DPT

When is the last time you could walk the dog, go shopping, take your kids to the amusement park, go for a run, or even just stand for prolonged periods of time without experiencing nagging foot or ankle pain? Have you ever gotten up in the morning and felt pain in your heel when you put your foot down on the floor? You’re probably wondering why your foot would hurt after you’ve been off your feet and sleeping all night. One of the most common causes of heel pain is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis arises from the inflammation of the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia inserts right into your heel bone, also known as the calcaneus. This band is important for providing shock absorption to the bottom of your foot as well as to the arch.

There are several risk factors that can predispose someone to plantar fasciitis.

  • If you are a runner or dancer, you are at a greater risk of getting it because these activity can place a lot of stress on the heel.  
  • If you have high arches or if you don’t have enough arch in your foot, this can place stresses on your foot due to the way weight is being distributed.
  • The condition is also prevalent in people who spend a lot of time standing on hard surfaces such as teachers, factory workers or even hospital staff members.

Another common foot and ankle injury is an ankle sprain. Whether you are participating in sports, running outside or just trying to step down off a curb, your ankle can twist into an abnormal position and cause swelling and pain. The most important thing to do if this occurs is R.I.C.E., (rest, ice, compression elevate). Get off of your feet and rest, ice the ankle to decrease the swelling, wrap your ankle and provide compression, and elevate. Ice is always the best course of action after an immediate injury as it will manage the swelling and help with pain.

Both of these conditions are likely to sideline you from performing any rigorous activity as well as restrict your ability to do simple things like walking and going up and down stairs. It is always a good idea to wear supportive shoes when being active and warm up prior to exercise. After exercising or walking, it is also important to stretch the calf muscles to prevent them from getting too tight. This will lessen the chance of having a foot and/or ankle injury.

If the symptoms do not improve and you have done the above, do not wait any longer. A physical therapist is a great person to see for any foot or ankle problem. At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, we can assess the issue and educate you on the correct course of action. This will ensure you return to your normal activities as well as your recreational activities safely, and provide you with the knowledge and exercises to prevent re-injury! Call our office TODAY at 703-450-4300.

CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you.

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