Physical Therapy for Aching Feet

Physical Therapy for Aching Feet Blog

Foot pain is more than just a nuisance. Ongoing foot discomfort and dysfunction can keep you from doing the activities you love, not to mention those you need to do! Treatment with over-the-counter NSAIDs and rubs may become costly while having little or no effect on your pain. Meanwhile, you have no choice but to use your feet daily, to get on with your life.

Your feet do more that help you stand and get around. They form a critical foundation upon which your entire body relies. As a base, you feet govern posture and balance, and provide stability for your entire body. The soles of your feet enable your ankles, knees, hips, and spine to function at their best, pain and injury free.

Ignoring foot pain and allowing it to go untreated can set you up for debilitating injury, not just to your feet, but to the joints and muscles of your legs, hips and pelvis. Poor balance from compensating for pain can even set you up for a fall that leads to upper body or head injuries.

Invasive therapies like corticosteroid injections and surgery may or may not get rid of your pain. However, even if they do succeed, invasive interventions do not address the underlying issues that led to your pain to begin with, and you may find yourself in a similar or worse condition later on down the road.

Common Causes of Foot Pain

There are a number of underlying causes of foot pain, and most are preventable and correctable. Some common causes of foot pain include:

  • Poor gait mechanics
  • Non-supportive footwear
  • Overuse syndromes from sports and exercise
  • Excess body weight
  • Weak and inflexible muscles
  • Poor inefficient postural habits
  • Repetitive stress fractures

When you correct and eliminate the underlying cause of your foot pain, you also protect other joints throughout your body from injury.

Why Physical Therapy is the Best Way to Manage Foot Pain

While strategies like ice and rest may help ease foot pain, the ultimate solution is to seek corrective treatment. A physical therapist will do a thorough analysis of your medical history, lifestyle habits, posture and gait. They will ask questions about your daily activities, footwear, and the types of physical activities you regularly engage in. Diagnostic ultrasound may be employed to further understand the source of your pain.

Once the cause of your foot pain is identified, a treatment protocol can be designed to restore functional movement and correct postural and mechanical deficiencies.

Treatment may include:

  • Diagnostic ultrasonography
  • Computerized gait analysis and retraining
  • Strengthening and stretching exercises
  • Stability and balance exercises
  • ESWT (extracorporeal shockwave therapy)
  • Cold and heat therapy

At NYDNRehab, our foot pain specialists conduct a thorough analysis to identify and treat the source of your foot pain. We especially focus on movement mechanics, correcting deficient running and walking gait patterns so the foot and ankle move in more mechanically efficient ways.

The foot pain specialists at NYDNRehab go beyond just treating your pain by correcting the underlying deficiencies that often lead to injury. Do not ignore your ongoing foot pain. Contact NYDNRehab today for complete analysis, diagnosis and state-of-the-art treatment.

 

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In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)

image

Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)

image

Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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