PHYSIOTHERAPY Articles
Your Essential Guide on Physiotherapy For Foot Injury

Your Essential Guide on Physiotherapy For Foot Injury

PHYSIOTHERAPY Body parts: Foot,

Foot pain from an injury is a common case you see in physical therapy clinics which affects one's joint mobility. This limitation makes certain movements uncomfortable and simple tasks difficult. It can manifest as a sharp ankle sprain, dull ache in your heel, or foot and ankle pain.

Physiotherapy for foot injuries offers a safe and effective solution to alleviate pain, improve the function of the foot's "little bones", and get you back on your feet. This treatment is an evidenced-based approach for foot and ankle pain rehabilitation in Singapore.

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In this article, we'll explain the types of foot injuries, their causes and symptoms, the benefits of foot pain physiotherapy, and certain treatments involved. Dive in.

Types of Foot Injuries

There are various types of foot injuries, each with its unique symptoms and causes. They can range from acute, overuse, and chronic injuries stemming from degenerative conditions.

In Singapore, one in four people struggles with foot and ankle pain, a prevalent orthopaedic condition. Workplace foot or ankle injury is widely considered a significant occupational health concern. This high prevalence highlights the importance of readily available physiotherapy services for foot pain management in Singapore.

Here's a closer look at some common foot injuries people encounter.

Plantar Fasciitis

This painful condition also called fasciopathy involves inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the sole of your foot and supports the arch. Plantar fasciitis is a leading cause of heel pain, particularly for people who stand for extended periods or wear shoes with poor arch support. The pain can be most intense in the first few steps you take in the morning, gradually improving throughout the day.

The following factors also contribute to this condition:

  • High-demand activities like excessive standing, walking, or running
  • Training mistakes such as a rapid increase in your exercise load
  • Improper footwear and cushioning of the feet
  • Foot biomechanics issues like flat feet, high arches, or any abnormality in your foot structure
  • Weak core and hips putting excessive stress on your feet
  • Limited calf mobility restricting ankle mobility and foot shock absorption
  • Poor running technique leading to repetitive stress on certain areas of your foot

Peroneal Tendinopathy

This overuse injury affects the tendons that run along the outside of your ankle, causing pain and tenderness. We commonly see this in runners, dancers, and people who participate in activities that involve frequent jumping or pushing-off movements. Patients of peroneal tendinopathy usually feel pain on the outer side of the ankle which may radiate down the lower leg.

Bone Stress Injuries

These occur when repetitive stress places excessive strain on a bone, often the small bones in the foot or the heel bone (calcaneus). This condition is common in athletes who suddenly increase their training intensity or runners with improper footwear. Pain is typically a gradual onset and worsens with activity.

Bone stress injuries can involve two ankle or foot injury issues:

  • Stress reactions: This is the early stage of a bone stress injury. Microscopic cracks develop within the bone due to repetitive stress that exceeds the bone's ability to repair itself. Pain is often a dull ache that worsens with activity and improves with rest.
  • Stress fractures: If the repetitive stress continues unaddressed, the microscopic cracks in the bone can progress into a full-blown stress fracture. This can cause a more significant increase in pain, often localised in a specific area, and may even make weight-bearing activities difficult or impossible.

Early diagnosis and treatment at these stages are crucial to prevent a full-blown fracture progression.

Foot Sprain

A sprained ankle is a common injury caused by twisting or rolling your ankle, damaging the ligaments that connect the bones. The severity of a sprain can range from mild (grade 1) to severe (grade 3), with varying degrees of pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty bearing weight.

These are just a few examples, and other foot or ankle injuries can also benefit from physiotherapy treatment. Conditions like stress fractures in other foot bones, flat feet that cause pain and misalignment, and even knee pain referred from foot and ankle problems can be addressed through a comprehensive physiotherapy program.

Acute vs. Overuse Injuries

There are two categories for foot injuries: acute or overused. Acute injuries occur suddenly due to a specific event resulting in immediate pain and functional limitations. Common examples include:

  • Ankle Sprains
  • Stress Fractures
  • Sesamoid Fractures

Meanwhile, overuse injuries develop gradually over time from repetitive stress. that exceeds the body's ability to heal. These injuries often come with a dull ache or discomfort that worsens with activity and improves with rest. Common examples include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Peroneal Tendinopathy
  • Shin Splints

Your diagnosis and treatment will include understanding the difference between acute and overuse injuries. Physiotherapists help with these types of injuries and develop a personalized treatment plan to address the specific underlying cause of your foot pain.

Symptoms of Foot Injuries

Symptoms of foot injuries can vary in many ways depending on the specific condition. Pain in the foot or ankle is the most obvious sign, but the location and nature of the pain can offer clues about the injury.

Here's a breakdown of some common symptoms to watch out for:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty walking or bearing weight
  • Stiffness in the joints
  • Limited range of motion
  • Deformity

Left untreated, some foot and ankle conditions can lead to chronic pain, joint instability, and even ankle surgery.

Causes of Foot Injuries

Now that we understand the warning signs, let's explore some common culprits behind foot pain. An increased risk of developing foot pain includes these factors:

  • Improper footwear: Wearing shoes that don't provide adequate support can put undue stress on your feet and ankles.
  • Repetitive activities: Athletes and individuals engaged in high-impact activities are more prone to overuse injuries.
  • Flat feet: This common foot deformity can affect your walking pattern and increase your risk of certain injuries.
  • Obesity: Carrying excess weight puts additional strain on your entire musculoskeletal system, including your feet and ankles.
  • Underlying medical condition: Certain medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can contribute to foot pain.

Benefits of Physiotherapy for Foot Injuries

Physiotherapy offers a comprehensive approach to managing foot and ankle pain. Similarly, early intervention can significantly improve your recovery timeline and prevent potential complications after an injury. Below are some of the benefits it can provide:

  • Pain relief: Physiotherapy tackles pain head-on, aiming to alleviate discomfort and restore normal function in your foot and ankle. This allows you to move with greater ease and participate in the activities you love, pain-free.
  • Improved mobility: Stiffness and restricted movement often accompany foot pain. Physiotherapy exercises specifically target these limitations, improving your foot and ankle's range of motion and flexibility. This allows for better balance, coordination, and overall physical performance.
  • Strengthening muscles: Strengthening exercises for the calf muscles, foot muscles, and lower leg muscles can improve stability and support the ankle joint. Stronger muscles provide better support for the entire joint, improve shock absorption during activity, and can significantly reduce your risk of future injuries.
  • Enhanced gait: Physiotherapists can analyze your walking pattern and prescribe specific exercises to improve your gait and reduce stress on your feet.
  • Reduced risk of future injuries: Physiotherapy goes beyond just addressing the current injury. It equips you with the tools and knowledge to prevent future foot problems. This includes education on proper footwear selection, activity modification techniques, and maintaining a healthy weight to keep your feet strong and healthy for years.

What is Involved in Physiotherapy for Foot Injuries?

A physiotherapy treatment plan for foot pain is tailored to your specific needs and the underlying cause of your injury. In Singapore, Phoenix Rehab is a top provider of physiotherapy for foot fracture, providing a personalized approach to ensure the most effective path to recovery.

Here's a general overview of what you might experience during physiotherapy sessions.

Comprehensive Assessment

The physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment, including a physical examination and imaging tests (depending on the injury) to pinpoint the exact source of your pain and its severity. Based on the assessment, the physiotherapist will develop a personalised plan to manage your pain.

Manual Therapy

This hands-on approach involves techniques like soft tissue massage and joint mobilisation (or manipulation). Soft tissue mobilisation targets muscles, tendons, and ligaments to improve their flexibility and reduce pain and tension. Joint mobilisation gently manipulates the joints in your foot and ankle to improve their range of motion and reduce stiffness. Manual therapy can address these soft tissue restrictions and joint limitations to improve your comfort and function.

Exercise Prescription

Physiotherapists are movement specialists. They design personalised exercise programmes specifically tailored to your needs. These programmes typically include:

  • Stretching Exercises: Tight muscles can contribute to foot pain and limit your mobility. Stretching exercises target specific muscle groups to improve flexibility and range of motion in your foot and ankle. This allows for better movement and reduces stress on the joints.
  • Strengthening Exercises (therapeutic exercises): Weak muscles can lead to instability and contribute to foot pain. Strengthening exercises target the muscles in your foot, ankle, and lower leg to improve their strength and endurance.

The exercise programme will be progressive, starting with gentle exercises and gradually increasing in intensity and complexity as you improve. This ensures a safe and effective path to recovery.

Modalities

While not always necessary, physiotherapists may incorporate modalities like ultrasound therapy or electrical stimulation to enhance your treatment.

  • Ultrasound Therapy: This modality uses sound waves to promote healing and reduce inflammation. Ultrasound can be particularly beneficial for deep tissue injuries and pain management.
  • Electrical Stimulation (electrotherapy): Low-level electrical currents can be used to stimulate muscle contractions, improve circulation, and reduce pain.

These modalities can be used alongside other physiotherapy techniques to accelerate healing and improve your overall recovery experience.

Education

Physiotherapists empower you to be an active participant in your recovery journey. They'll educate you on matters like:

  • Proper footwear selection
  • Activity modification techniques
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Environmental factors

Taping Techniques

In some cases, physiotherapists may incorporate taping techniques like sports taping or Kinesio taping to provide support, improve proprioception (your body's awareness of joint position), and promote healing.

Conclusion

Physiotherapy offers a safe and effective way to manage foot pain, improve mobility, and get you back to your active lifestyle. You can achieve long-lasting results and prevent future foot and ankle problems when working with an experienced physiotherapist.

Phoenix Rehab: Where you regain the life you love

Singapore's most experienced and trustworthy physio and hand therapy specialists who are dedicated experts in diagnosing and treating pain and injuries in bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints.

Novena
65 8800 1830 |
10 Sinaran Drive, Novena Medical Centre #10-09, Singapore 307506
Serangoon
88924121 |
265 Serangoon Central Drive #04-269 Singapore 550265
Tampines
65 8780 9608 |
9 Tampines Grande, #01-20, Singapore 528735