Often foot aches, pains or discomforts, experienced on a daily basis are actually the manifestations of an underlying foot problem. These problems although cause us great discomfort might still get ignored in the daily rut of life. It is therefore, important that we must be aware of some common foot problems, their symptoms and cures available.
During our everyday activities like walking, jogging etc, the entire body weight falls on the feet. The maximum stress is borne by the supportive structures like ligaments, small bones in the feet and the thick layer of connective tissue which runs all through the sole of the foot. This stress can often lead to foot problems.
Two of the most common among these are:
Plantarfascitis is a painful and inflammatory condition of the foot arising when a series of micro trauma are summarized, or when the foot is subjected to repeated stress to an extent that it can bear no more. It is one of the most common conditions of the feet
Calcaneal or ‘heel spur’ often occurs as a continuation of plantarfascitis. Whenever the plantar fascia is overstrained, it leads to stripping of the outermost layer of the heel bone. As this happens, there is proliferation of small fragments of new bone as a natural body procedure to fill the gap in between. Hence, the heel spur is often accepted as late sequelae of plantarfascitis, which once formed is permanent. It may or may not be always painful.
Symptoms of these foot problems
One may not even notice the initial signs of plantarfascitis and neglecting the foot pain comes as a natural human tendency thinking the footwear we just bought were definitely wrong!
- Take some time and watch out for these signs:
- Heel pain, usually inside of the heel.
- Pressing the heel and the foot arch produces pain.
- Pain is worst in the morning and eases down as the foot warms up during the day.
- A sharp pain is produced while climbing stairs, standing for a long time and while stretching your feet.
The ideal treatment method
An ideal treatment protocol is the one which aims at reducing the pain and inflammation as well as relieving the strain from the fascia. The evaluation of the foot should be done prior and the diagnosis can be obtained by X-ray.
The various treatment options are as follows:
- Pain and inflammation control: By removing the irritating factor responsible for producing pain, which is usually done by teaching the patient to walk on toes immediately after getting up from bed and then slowly putting the feet down.
- Reducing strain on the fascia:Using appropriate shoe inserts reduces tension and constant irritation over the inflamed fascia while also giving an alternative to elevate the foot arch. The sacro-rubber heel provides better relief to patients with calcaneal spur.
- Hot water fomentation: Putting your feet under warm water for some time helps in reducing morning pain.
- Physical therapy: A therapeutic current ‘faradism’ is a useful measure to induce tone, power and circulation of intrinsic muscles of foot.
- Strengthening exercises: It is emphasized that the exercises should be done for several short sessions during the day. They are as follows:
- Sustained toe curling (even with the shoes on) is an excellent resistive exercise.
- Cupping the foot and releasing.
- Slow barefoot walking on outer border of foot.
- Toe walking
- Gently pulling the foot, rotating clockwise and anti clockwise is a great way of stretching the soft tissues of foot.
This article has been contributed by Physiotherapist; Dr. Vindhya Asthana. To ask a query contact Dr. Asthana through our section - Ask The Tzars or write in to her at -