There are a variety of reasons your foot or feet may be causing you pain. During our assessment, the focus is on WHY you have pain rather than only treating where the pain is. Once we know that answer, then we can find a solution.
Foot injuries can be chronic and difficult to get rid of so if we don't know the cause then we are only treating symptoms. That will not fix your pain permanently!
Here are a few reasons you may be in pain but your therapist will be the one to assess your injury and create a treatment plan.
1) Postural dysfunction - Do you stand all day with minimal support in your footwear? Is more pressure on one foot than the other? Do you tend to put pressure more on the outside or inside of your foot when standing? Do you lock your knees in standing?
If the answer is Yes to any of these questions then it might be your posture which is contributing to the pain. Frequently we do not realize what position we are in at work, at home or in line at the grocery store!
We also need to remember to assess the back when there is foot pain to make sure there is no referral pain coming from elsewhere.
2) Poor foot mechanics - Do you put extra pressure on one part of your foot? Does your foot collapse too much (pronation) or roll to the outside too much (supination)? Does one foot do something different than the other when walking?
If the answer is Yes to any of these questions then your foot mechanics might be the cause of your pain!
3) Muscle weakness - frequently a lack in strength in certain muscles either in the foot itself or higher up the chain in the hip can contribute to foot pain. The therapist will need to assess those muscles to see which ones are the problem.
4) Muscle tightness - if certain muscles are too tight then they are not able to move in the proper patterns. A muscle that is too tight or too stretched can be a problem! Many times the calf muscles are involved in foot pain.
Who can help you? Check out the links to see what each profession does!
What might be involved in their treatment?
- Assessment of movement and strength in the foot
- Assessment of your gait (walking pattern)
- Education - to teach you what is causing your pain and how to make it better as well as how to prevent it from returning in the future
- Exercises - teaching you how to do the proper exercises to decrease your pain and improve your strength and/or mobility
- Manual therapy - your therapist may need to release muscles or mobilize joints to improve their ability to move
- Orthotics, footwear or compression socks from our pedorthist
- Referral back to family doctor for imaging or to a specialist - if the therapist feels there is a need for an Xray, U/S or MRI then they will contact your family physician to discuss it. They may also suggest a specialist's referral if treatment is not progressing as it should.