Foot pain is common. In younger people foot pain is most likely due to an acute injury/accident or from repeated activity leading to overload. In the older people age related changes occur in the foot joint and surrounding soft tissue structures.
The good news is that research has shown that physiotherapy is often effective in the management of foot pain and foot pain relief getting you back to doing the activities you enjoy.
The foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 ligaments, nerves, muscles and tendons. All of these structures are capable of causing pain. The foot is designed to absorb the forces of walking, accommodate to the shape of the ground and transmit these forces through the ankle to the legs.
The Role of Your Physiotherapist
Physiotherapy is a broad field, meaning that it is impossible to be up to date with the latest information on every problem. It is important that your therapist has an interest in the area which you are seeing them for or has access to a colleague who can give an opinion. In general, the role of the Physiotherapist is to:
- Provide a Foot Pain diagnosis
- Provide exercises, treatment modalities and advice which can treat the problem via:
o Minimising negative structural loading by optimising postural habits and movement habits
o Provide exercises and other modalities to assist with foot pain relief
What to do if you have foot pain?
1. Let a professional assess you. Foot pain has many causes and even though you may feel pain around your foot it at times could be caused by another source. Only a trained medical professional, physiotherapist or podiatrist can assess this.
2. Manage your pain. This may include medication, exercises and hands on treatment. Activity modification is also very important to allow hip symptoms to settle.
3. Don’t stress about it. Psychological stress can actually increase pain. The majority of shoulder pain will settle if managed appropriately.
4. Trial conservative management first- Unless in severe cases (e.g. major ligament rupture or fracture where surgery is required, a trial of conservative management, which may include orthotics and exercise should be trialled first before surgical options are explored.