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Put Our Foot Down

discomfort in the heel

Can you put your foot down without experiencing any pain or discomfort?  We don’t typically give our feet much thought.  However, when we think about it, our feet and ankles do quite a bit for us on a daily basis. They help propel us as we walk, they help us stay level when we are hiking through the rugged mountain trails or through the shifting sands on the beach; they help us press on the gas pedal as we drive; they help us rise up taller so that we can look over the crowd of taller people blocking our view at a concert. These are a few examples of things you probably wouldn’t think twice about until your ankle or foot starts hurting. When your ankle or foot starts hurting, then all of these activities, including just standing, or going up and down the stairs can become a chore.

Foot and ankle conditions are very common for every age group. It is not uncommon to have pain at the ankle joint that radiates up into the leg or down into the heel. This symptom often causes you to have difficulty walking or standing for a prolonged period of time. It can also mean you would have trouble going from a seated position to a standing one without pain. Even taking just a few steps can be painful due to muscle tightness and joint stiffness.

If foot pain is not taken care of, it can cause dysfunctions up the chain in your knee, hip and even your back. To compensate for the pain in your foot and ankle, you end up having an abnormal gait or walking pattern and the movements you use to perform a normal activity are altered to try and avoid that pain in your foot or ankle. If a foot or ankle issue is not addressed right away it may lead to the inability to enjoy your usual summer evening walks or exercise routine.  You may even end up having to use crutches or a cain.

This ‘trickle down’ effect is why it’s so important to address this issue as soon as possible.  Physical Therapy can help to get you back on the path to walking pain free and enjoying those long summer night walks on the beach or just around your neighborhood.

So what causes foot and ankle problems? Foot and ankle pain can stem from a number of factors. Some common ones include:

  • Poor footwear
  • Weakness in the intrinsic foot muscles
  • Poor foot anatomy such has a flat foot or high arches
  • Chronic issues with lower back, hip or the knee that causes pain down into the foot and ankle

One of the most common foot issues is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is pain along the bottom of the heel and sometimes throughout the bottom of the foot.  Footwear that lacks good arch support can also play a role in plantar fasciitis. Having a job that requires prolonged standing, being overweight, and having either too-high or too-flat of arches are the most common risk factors for getting plantar fasciitis. This condition is also pathology of repetitive stress and irritation, but this time it is of the plantar fascia which is a ligamentous tissue that stretches across the bottom of your foot to help support your arch.

Taking the first few steps in the morning or after prolonged sitting are often very painful to the bottom of the heel and foot.

Another common ankle problem stems from ankle sprains – lateral ankle sprains being most common with pain along the outside of the ankle, and second most commonly are medial ankle sprains with pain along the inside of the ankle. Ankle sprains, on the other hand (or foot), are caused by the trauma of over stretching and/or tearing the ligaments of your ankle. Most commonly this occurs when you roll your ankle inward as you are running, walking or stepping. Uneven surfaces are often to blame when this injury occurs. When you roll your ankle outward, this will often cause damage to the ligaments along the lateral/outside of the ankle. One can also sprain the ligaments along the medial/inside of the ankle by rolling the ankle inward or one can also have a high ankle sprain in which the ligaments between the two leg bones near the ankle are stretched or torn, but these are less common.

***Physical therapy is a very effective treatment method to relieve foot and ankle pain. Physical therapy helps to decrease pain and inflammation, improve joint mobility, decrease muscle tightness and improve motor control of the ankle’s stabilizing muscles.***

At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, our Physical Therapists will fully evaluate your foot and ankle and associated symptoms and help restore your full function and get you back to enjoying your long summer evenings.

CALL Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300 to schedule your evaluation and get your individualized treatment plan.

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

 

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