Category Archives: Foot Pain

Physical Therapy Treatments for Running & Jogging Injuries

Running seems simpler and easier to everybody as all of us start running as toddlers and many of us continue with this activity throughout either for play, sports or exercise. But if the correct form is not maintained, this simple act can lead to serious injuries.

What causes running injuries?

When you start running for fitness, you particularly become prone to running injuries. There are certain stages at which you become more vulnerable to running injuries, like:

  • During the initial 4 to 6 months of running
  • Returning to running after injury
  • Increase in distance of running
  • Increase in speed

But the fact is, during these vulnerable stages, most of the injuries occur due to the training errors. Apart from these, there are several other factors that also contribute towards the running injuries. These are the factors that runners can avoid or prevent:

Training Errors: The most common cause of running injuries is the erroneous training regime. Inadequate stretching, frequent changes in mileage, heightened hill training, interval training and inadequate rest between training sessions all together make up for training errors.

Defective Running Shoe: An athlete should always select the footwear that fits comfortably and can accommodate his particular foot anatomy. You should replace your shoes after its mileage exceeds 500-600 miles.

Surfaces for running: The surface on which you run needs to be smooth, flat, soft and adaptable. Try to avoid concrete or rough road surfaces. Moreover, try to avoid hills initially as they place stress on knees and ankles.

What are the Common Running Injuries?

Most of the running injuries cause by applying repeated force over a long period of time. Whether you are a newbie or vet; sudden changes in training volume can cause any of the following injuries:

Runner’s Knee: When you experience a consistent tender pain around or behind the kneecap; it is a sure sign of patella femoral pain syndrome or runner’s knee. The repetitive force, downhill running, muscular imbalance and weak hips putting stress on the knee cap can cause the condition.

Achilles Tendinitis: The swelling of tissues connecting your heel to lover-leg muscles is known as Achilles Tendinitis. Rapid increase in mileage, improper footwear, tight calf muscles and flat foot contribute towards the condition.

Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation, irritation or tearing of plantar fascia; tissue on the bottom of the foot is known as plantar fasciitis. Runners experience extreme stiffness or pain in the arch of the foot due to the condition.

Shin Splints: When the muscles and tendons covering the shinbone become inflamed and runners experience stabbing sensations in the shin; the condition is called shin splints.

Stress Fracture: Stress Fractures are the tiny cracks in the bones that occur due to repeatedly applying the greater force than the legs can bear.

Patellar Tendinitis: It is an overuse injury which leads to tiny tears in patellar tendon that connects kneecap to the shin bone.

Pulled Muscles: When due to overuse or inflexibility, a muscle is overstretched, it can tear fibers and tendons causing pulled muscles

Side stitches: Awful pain on the side of the stomach formally known as exercise-related transient abdominal pain (EJAP) caused due to diaphragm spasm because of overwork or poor running posture

Bursitis: Bursitis of hip develops because of the inflammation of a bursa between the hip and the tendon.

What are the Physical Therapy treatments suggested for Running Injuries?

A physical therapist begins treating an injured runner by conducting physical evaluation and asking questions about his running habits, regime, equipments and techniques. The therapists usually begin by suggesting patients to take rest and modifying his/her running habits. In order to prevent recurring injuries; physical therapists develop pre-and post-workout routines for them with strength work, warm-ups, stretches and cool-downs. Other specific treatments may include:

For knees: Physical therapists may suggest stretching and strengthening of hamstring, quadriceps and hip musculature along with cold therapy. Modalities like ultrasound and supportive or corrective taping techniques may also be applied.

For ankle pain and sprains: Physical therapists may suggest strengthening exercises to enhance stability. Foot orthotics may be suggested. Moreover physical therapists may also suggest massage, ice, ultrasound or electrical stimulation for tissue healing.

For Achilles Tendon Pain: Most of the times, therapists suggest rest and limited use as these are best to treat the problem. Apart from this, a therapist may also suggest heat and cold therapy, ultrasound and massage therapy to reduce swelling.

For Foot: Special shoe inserts or foot orthotics and other modification are suggested so that shoe fits properly. Therapeutic exercises accompanied by modalities like manual treatment techniques and ultrasound may also be suggested.

For Shin Splints: Deep tissue massage may be used to reduce inflammation. Supportive taping may also be applied to alleviate stress within the affected region.

For Plantar Fasciitis: Arch supports, soft-tissue massage are used to alleviate pain. Calf stretches before and after workouts may also help.

For Bursitis: Therapists will suggest stretches to restore full hip motion and to reduce friction.

Contact Alliance Physical Therapy for the expert diagnosis and state of art treatment of your pain and injuries. Our diligent team of physical therapists use patient-proven techniques and state-of-art technologies to make you as healthy and fit as before.

Foot Drop: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

What do you understand by Foot Drop?

Foot Drop, also referred to as ‘drop foot’ is a gait abnormality, where person is unable to lift his/her forefoot and hence walking becomes challenging for such persons. Foot drop is not a disease in itself but rather a sign of underlying foot disorder that can be neurological, muscular or anatomical. Foot Drop can affect one or both the feet and as well be temporary or permanent depending upon its cause.

Under this condition, patient loses partial or total control over the foot. The toes of such patients either point towards floor when they lift up the foot from the ground or they tend to drag the foot along the ground while walking.

What conditions give rise to Foot Drop?

Generally, foot drop occurs due to the weakness or paralysis of the muscles lifting the foot. Apart from this, there may be some other causes including the following:

  • Muscular Disorders
  • Nerve injury
  • Brain or Spinal disorders
  • Injury to peroneal nerve
  • Sports injuries
  • Diabetes, hip or knee replacement surgery
  • Sitting cross-legged or squatting for sustained hours
  • Neurological conditions like; stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy
  • Muscular dystrophy, polio
  • Tear of the anterior tibialis tendon
  • Anterior compartment syndrome

What are the signs and symptoms of Foot Drop?

Foot drop is debilitating for the patients as it affects their mobility to a greater degree. The persons suffering from foot drop may exhibit the below mentioned signs and symptoms:

  • Difficulty in lifting the forefoot or toes off the floor
  • Pain, weakness & numbness in the foot
  • Slap foot on the floor while walking
  • Drag the foot while ambulating
  • Raise the leg while walking

What are the physical therapy interventions employed to treat Foot Drop?

Physical Therapy is the most effective treatment for the foot drop, as most of patients regain significant function and mobility after observing a regular physical therapy regime. Physical therapists use the following techniques to manage foot drop:

  • Strengthening exercises are practised to strengthen and stretch foot and to mobilize the ankle.
  • Stretching exercises are administered to help stretch the calf and foot muscles
  • Leg flexes and toe curls are advised and practised to stimulate the muscles
  • Treatment regime including electrical stimulations of nerve and muscle fibres’ may be advised to enhance the tone and contractility.
  • Gait training is recommended to help the patients walk more efficiently and to improve their stability
  • Use of ‘AFO’ (Ankle-Foot-Orthosis) braces may be recommended to support the ankle and foot function
  • Manual Therapeutic techniques including; soft tissue massage, deep friction massage, manual stretching and joint mobilization is employed by therapists to help patients regain range of motion
  • Neuromuscular Re-education including; movement techniques and mechanics is provided to restore stability and retain lower extremity in daily chores
  • Home program including; strengthening, stretching and stabilization exercises and instructions is designed to help patients to perform daily tasks.

Contact Alliance Physical Therapy for the efficient treatment of your neurological and muscular disorders. Our dedicated and diligent physical therapist will help you walk the road to recovery.