On their own, our lower leg and foot muscles are not strong enough to withstand body weight. Especially a concern for runners, this can be combatted with strong core muscles. You may be thinking, ‘what do my abs have to do with my foot muscles?’ Well, core strength happens to be instrumental in lower extremity muscle function.
When the stomach muscles are defined, your core provides stability for the lower half of the body. If you have weak gluteal muscles, this also has a direct impact on your heels and foot. Those who are physically active should work on building these muscles, as well as the hip and thigh muscles, to prevent common runner’s injuries.
Running on hard surfaces, such as blacktop or concrete, can put you at risk for serious injury with every step. The pounding pressure can lead to pain in the legs, knees and feet for even the most seasoned runners. As mentioned, the foot muscles are not strong enough on their own to support our body weight. However, they act as shock absorbers when we run.
If you are wearing improper footwear, this can make the discomfort even worse. While some soreness after a run is normal, you can reduce the risk of injury by running on cushioned surfaces like grass and dirt roads.
Our feet help us get from place to place on a daily basis. When you wake up in the morning, you walk to the shower, out the front door, from the car to work, up the stairs to your office, and the routine continues. Those who are overweight may notice that, by the end of the day, their feet are extremely sore.
Even if you have a desk job that does not require much physical activity within the office, excess weight puts strain on all weak muscles, including the feet. Too much body weight can increase your chances of inflammation and painful disorders like plantar fasciitis.
Diabetic Nerve Pain
Damaged nerves are a common symptom of diabetes. As a result of high blood sugar, you may feel numbness, tingling or burning in different areas of the body, including the feet. If you are diabetic and experience these symptoms in your feet, talk with your doctor. Make sure you are properly managing your blood sugar levels to prevent further nerve damage. Unfortunately, these nerves cannot be replaced.
Physical Therapy for Foot Pain
Physical therapists are well-versed in the human body and its mechanics. Our team of experienced PTs can treat several conditions associated with foot pain. These include:
- Plantar Fasciitis: When the ligament from your heel bone to toes is inflamed, we will work with you to strengthen the muscle tissue and reduce pain.
- Achilles Tendonitis: When our largest tendon – which connects calf muscles to the heel – is overexerted, a physical therapist can prescribe exercises that reduce stress on the Achilles.
- Diabetes: Physical therapy may help ease the sharp sensations of your diabetic nerve pain. When you come to us, we may prescribe swimming or another low-impact activity.
An Orthopedic Clinical Specialist may also recommend custom orthotics, devices worn inside the shoe to reduce pain and help with alignment.
If you have foot pain, but are unsure of the cause, our team at Integrated Rehab wants to help. Contact us today to learn more about assessment, diagnosis and treatment options.