Is pain preventing you from walking or going up stairs? Are you having difficulty fitting into shoes? Do you experience foot pain when get out of bed in the morning? Yes, many people suffer with foot pain. Is it any wonder, when you consider how vital and vulnerable our feet are. On average, people take almost 5,000 steps a day. Add some activities – aerobic exercise and jogging, and the “wrong” type of shoes… the result is often foot pain symptoms!
The foot is one of the most complex parts of the body, consisting of 28 bones (7 tarsal bones, 5 metatarsal bones, 5 proximal phalanges, 4 middle phalanges, 5 distal phalanges and 2 sesamoid bones), which are linked by several joints, tendons, muscles and ligaments. The foot is the foundation of athletic movements of the lower extremity – and unfortunately, easily injured.
There are many causes of foot pain. It often originates in other parts of the body – not the foot. In fact, many times, the problem begins in the back. Below are examples of what can cause foot pain:
Trying to simply walk through or ignore foot pain symptoms, can cause a mild case to become long-term, debilitating and lead to additional health problems. Just like the song says… The hip bones connected to the knee bone… so, what happens in the feet directly impacts the proper functioning of the knees, hips, and back as you change your body mechanics to adjust to discomfort or pain. The good news is… there are many treatments, along with lifestyle changes to speed recovery time for foot pain relief.
Most sufferers are able to overcome their pain with non-invasive therapy and return to work and their favorite activities. Traditional “at-home” remedies include stretching, massaging, decreasing one’s training, losing weight, purchasing better-fitting shoes, icing and taking over-the-counter medications – such as ibuprofen. However, these treatments all focus on relieving foot pain symptoms; they do not address the cause of the problem. Corrective care may be necessary, especially if pain continues or comes back. An effective, customized rehabilitation program can be created by our Healthcare Team of Experts to correct the root cause of foot pain.
The first step in treating foot pain, is a correct foot pain diagnosis, which is based upon a patient’s history, description of the pain, observation and physical examination – including the biomechanics of the feet and legs. It is vital to consider the patient’s participation in a training or exercise program, type of footwear worn, body weight, and of course, any injuries sustained. X-rays may be necessary to rule out bone fracture or arthritis, and can reveal bone spurs, common to patients with chronic plantar fasciitis.
Once testing and evaluations are completed, a diagnosis is made. Often, foot pain sufferers, who come to the AIMS Clinic are diagnosed with one or more of the following:
An effective treatment plan for foot pain relief may include Pain Management, Physical Therapy and Exercise, Chiropractic Care, Acupuncture and/or Nutritional Support.
Physical Therapy and Exercise: The focus is on pain relief, healing, restoring function and movement and to improve body mechanics. Once a leg and foot alignment evaluation is completed, a customized exercise program is created. Our physical therapists teach each patient proper stretching (The Long Sitting Stretch, Achilles Stretch, Stair Stretch, Can roll, Toe Stretch) and strengthening exercises, as well as providing the support and motivation needed to correct foot pain. The side effect of exercise is weight reduction, which will place less pressure on joints. Additional treatment options may include ultrasound (high-pitched sound waves to create heat and reduce pain and inflammation) and galvanic (intermittent muscular stimulation to the heel and calf which helps reduce pain and relax muscle spasm). Assistive devices and orthotics, such as tape, braces, splints, heel pads and medial wedges can help protect from further injury. Many people continue their exercises after their prescribed physical therapy is completed. Our physical therapists provide a customized home exercise program for patients.
Chiropractic: An effective treatment option for foot pain. A visual examination of the feet reveal structural imbalances that may require correction. For example, the alignment of the knees and hips can affect the weight distribution and gait patterns of the feet. Excessive inward or outward angulation at the knees may be the underlying cause from faulty foot mechanics. In addition, a visual evaluation of the pelvis and lower spine may uncover an un-leveling or a lower back that is poorly aligned – contributing to structural misalignment and dangerous nerve pressure.
Observation of the body in motion is vital. Is the arch collapsing excessively during weight-bearing? Is there tightness in a hip? Does the pelvis and lower back move symmetrically and smoothly while walking? These findings are important clues to treatment strategies and techniques.
Soft tissue techniques target the soft tissues by getting to the root of the problem – freeing up restrictions in the involved areas. These techniques increase flexibility of the calf muscles, correcting functional risk factors – such as tightness of the gastroc muscles and/or soleus muscles, and weakness of the intrinsic foot muscles. Other treatment options include physical manipulation, which allow joints to be directly adjusted – reducing pain and stiffness. Massage (increases flexibility and circulation), Heat Therapy (increases blood flow and relaxes tissue), Cold Therapy (reduces swelling and pain) and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation which stimulates pain-inhibiting chemicals in the body) are also offered. Chiropractic is part of our excellent foot treatment in New Jersey.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): TCM is based on the belief that the body needs to be in balance to remain healthy. Pain and illness occur when the body is out of balance and there is a disturbance in the body’s energy. TCM treatments – acupuncture, herbal medicine and various types of massage, focus on returning the body to a delicate balance.
Acupuncture can reduce pain and improve function by restoring vital energy (Qi) and blood flow in the body. By inserting tiny needles into the skin at various points that correspond to the location and the nature of the injury, Qi is re-directed away from the injured area. In addition, acupuncture increases levels of endorphins in the central nervous system, which decreases distribution of the body’s pain signals to the spinal cord level and modulates pain perception. Acupuncture treatment may be followed with Tui Na, a form of TCM therapeutic massage that warms and stretches the affected region.
Nutritional Support: Proper nutrition and supplementation are essential for a speedy recovery. An anti-inflammatory nutritional protocol may include Bromelin, Omega-3 fats (fish oils), and avoiding saturated fats. Other recommendations may include vitamin C, Zinc and Glucosamine. Each patient is unique, requiring testing to detect nutritional imbalances. Blood, urine and stool testing are vital to correct these imbalances, avoid toxicity, as well as prevent “expensive” urine.
Lifestyle Recommendations: It is necessary to change or modify activities that cause pain, modify the home and work areas, maintain proper posture while standing, sitting or sleeping and wear comfortable and supportive shoes, when seeking a cure for foot pain.
Many people are searching for foot pain relief. Our treatment in New Jersey offers an integrated approach of Pain Management, Physical Therapy, Chiropractic Care, Acupuncture and/or Nutritional Support – all under the direction of a Board Certified Medical Doctor. If needed, Prescription Pain Medication Intervention, Trigger Point Injections, Joint Injections, Epidural Injections, Nerve Blocks, Facet Joint Blocks, Radio Frequency Nerve Ablation are offered by our Pain Management Specialist. Discover our innovative foot pain relief program.
Call New Jersey’s own Alternative Integrated Medical Services today at 732-254-5553 and receive a FREE Initial Consultation. Our goal is to provide the most advanced and compassionate pain relief. Our Team of Experts and friendly staff at your local East Brunswick, NJ AIMS Clinic, will help you reduce or eliminate pain and improve function. As our patient, we will teach you how to regain your health with our revolutionary new treatment program.