Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 23, 2014

Foot, ankle pain from overuse may put limits on active lifestyle

By Eric Turner, PT, LAT, JET Physical Therapy | Nov 02, 2012

Many people ignore minor foot and ankle pain. This pain can gradually increase and result in overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. Overuse foot and ankle conditions can limit individuals from being active on their feet as pain increases with prolonged walking or standing activities. If pain levels become high, people often begin to limp, creating a more challenging recovery from injury. The longer recovery from injury generally requires multiple treatment interventions.

A variety of physical therapy treatment options can be utilized dependent on the type of overuse injury and level of inflammation. Often stretching exercises are needed to address tight muscle groups such as the plantar fascia or the calf muscle.

The stretching exercises need to be instructed and performed with proper positioning for each patient dependent on each individual's arch type. Strengthening exercises are needed in cases where patients need greater support to the arch or with the push-off action of the foot and ankle for proper walking pattern.

Proper shoe wear is very important to help address foot and ankle pain. The key to identifying proper shoe wear is the type of arch posture and walking pattern. Individuals with the same injury but different arch postures will need different shoes to provide the most benefit in their recovery.

If foot and ankle pain is dealt with when tissue inflammation and injury is mild, the condition can often be handled with exercise instruction and education on proper footwear. If the inflammation level and injury condition is moderate to high, then other treatment options such as the use of a walking boot, braces, injections, or modalities for pain management will be used in combination with the exercise. People recover from injury at a faster rate if they address the foot and ankle pain early.

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