Foot pain treatment looks to reduce pain, inflammation, instability and weakness. To be effective, it should address both the cause of the problem (weakness or abnormal foot biomechanics) and the symptoms (pain and swelling).
There are a whole range of foot treatment options out there, depending on what is causing your pain. This article will look at some of the most effective foot and ankle treatment options including how they work and what situations they are most suitable for.
The popular acronym RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This is usually the first line of treatment for foot pain with any new development of pain. It aims to protect the foot from any further injury, as well as reducing pain and inflammation. When used effectively, it can help reduce the impact of an injury and can help to speed up healing.
Weakness in the foot and calf muscles is a vital part of foot pain treatment for virtually any foot problem. The muscles need to be able to work effectively together to support the foot and maintain the foot arches as well as controlling how the foot moves. As well as having good strength, they also need to be able to work all day without becoming fatigued.
As well as having good strength int he muscles, you also need good flexibility. Tightness in the foot and calf muscles makes subtle changes to the position of the foot and how forces are transferred up the leg. Tight muscles makes us more prone tin injury and pain and can slow down the healing process. Foot and ankle stretches are designed to effectively stretch the different muscles around the foot as part of your foot pain treatment.
What we wear on our feet has a big impact on the health of our feet. Shoes that are too narrow, too tight or without enough support and protection frequently cause foot problems with the bones, muscles, ligaments and nerves. Shoes should ideally have a wide toe area, cushioned, flat soles and should be supportive but not tight.
Some people benefit from foot orthotics, which are specially designed inserts to wear in your shoes. They can be off the shelf or custom made, and should only be worn if there is a biomechanical problem with the feet such as flat feet from fallen foot arches. Popular orthotics include heel cups to cushion the heel and shoe inserts to correct abnormal foot position. Despite what doctors say, orthotics are not for everyone, and should be used cautiously. Using orthotics affects the gait of an individual which may lead to other issues like back and hip pain further on in time.
There are a whole range of medications used for the treatment of foot pain. They may range from simple analgesics such as Tylenol to reduce pain, or anti-inflammatories like Advil that can help reduce swelling. To figure out which choice is best for you, you should always consult your doctor before using any form of medications.
Applying ice is one of the favorite foot pain treatments. Ice tends to be most beneficial in the first few days following an injury as it helps reduce pain and inflammation. With ice treatment it is really important that it is applied safely and correctly to avoid further injury. It is recommended that ice be applied for no longer than 20 minutes, with a 20 minute break in between to allow the skin to warm up again.
Heat is to be used after the inflammation is under control. Heat will further help reduce pain and boost circulation – helping speed up healing times. For heat treatment, a simple hot water bottle wrapped up or microwavable wheat bag works well to warm up the dermal layer of skin above the injury. Heat should be applied in the same fashion as ice, in 20 minute sessions and should have a layer of material between the heat and the skin to avoid the possibility of burning.
Recently a development of medical devices came onto the market that promotes an increase in blood flow below the surface of the skin, which is far superior to any heating pad on the market. Depending on the injury, it is possible to cut the healing times in half when the blood flow is stimulated directly over top of the injury.