Physical Therapy can help people decrease pain and progress their mobility, strength and function to return to doing the things that matter most--taking care of families, working, participating in recreational and competitive sports, and enjoying their leisure time.
Physical Therapists can provide a detailed analysis of the feet and movement patterns to help prevent and treat foot problems that result from running, soccer, and fitness walking, repetitive overuse and chronic injuries, as well as traumatic injuries. In many cases, Physical Therapists can help patients avoid surgery, but when surgery is needed Physical Therapists can speed the course of post-operative recovery so that patients can safely progress and return to the activities that are important to them.
Essential Functions of the Foot
- Feet provide your base of support for balance.
- Feet absorb shock by flexing to minimize the impact when your foot hits the ground.
- Feet propel you forward by stiffening at a certain point in the walk/run cycle to help you move forward.
Common Foot Problems seen by Physical Therapists
Common Physical Therapy Interventions for Foot Problems:
After a detailed analysis, the Physical Therapist will outline a personalized treatment plan which may include any number of these treatment modalities.
* Electrical stimulation (high volt or micro-current) to reduce pain, decrease swelling or inflammation, and/or relax tightened muscles.
* Iontophoresis: This is the use of electric stimulation to drive a medication, often a corticosteroid, into the target area to reduce inflammation and pain.
* Ice to reduce swelling and pain.
* Manual Therapy: This may include joint mobilization to improve your joint's ability to move, soft tissue mobilization to loosen tightened soft tissues to allow more motion in the foot and lower leg, and/or myofascial release or scar tissue mobilization to break up fascial restrictions to improve your fluid mobility.
* Therapeutic Exercises to increase range of motion and strength.
* Neuromuscular Re-education activities to improve your balance, position sense or "proprioception", techniques to specifically inhibit, relax, or facilitate targeted muscles.
* Functional Activities which progressively mimic your day-to-day and sport-specific movements to help you return to everyday routines without pain or re-injury. The therapist will show you what activities and exercises to perform at home and may assist you with finding solutions to safely and easily transfer to and from your car while observing weight-bearing precautions.
* Gait Training to correct specific problems or difficulties in your walking/running pattern. The therapist will help you with progressing the use of your temporary or custom orthotics and can recommend accommodating shoes.
The Physical Therapists at Academy Foot and Ankle Specialists understand that the road to recovery is a personal one, so your treatment plan will always be tailored to your individual needs and be updated regularly with your input to progress you to your usual work, sport, recreation and leisure activities.