Foot Health Blog
Find expert articles from physical therapists and podiatrists to help understand, diagnose, and treat different foot health issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, flat feet, and more.
Plantar Fasciitis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and More
The latest research is showing that plantar fasciitis consists of small micro-tears and thickening in the plantar fascia itself (the band of soft tissue that makes up the arch of the foot) and is most commonly caused by your feet being overloaded. The most common causes of this overload are poor foot mechanics (collapsed arches, flat, and high-arched feet) combined with too much standing and inappropriate shoes. Sport and exercise are also often implicated again due to the foot being overloaded and not getting a chance to heal itself.
The most common symptom of plantar fasciitis is heel pain that increases after exercise, long periods of sitting, or when you first wake up in the morning. However, plantar fasciitis can cause more problems if left untreated.
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What Can You Do About Plantar Fasciitis Heel Pain?
Correct the foot mechanics with custom-made orthotics
This is particularly important if you have had plantar fasciitis for over 3 months.
Strengthen the muscles of your hips, legs, and feet
Perform exercises designed to make them work better when standing and walking. Simple foot exercises are simply not enough.
Change your shoes
Shoes with good support and a small heel lift are essential. A good pair of running shoes or walking boots are good, flat and soft sneakers are not!
What’s So Special About the Upstep Custom Orthotic Solution?
Our orthotics are custom made to your own foot shape. This means that they will give the maximum support to your feet to reduce the underlying forces responsible.
All of our orthotics come with a comprehensive range of exercises designed by a specialist - our in-house Podiatrist, Philip Wells. These work with your orthotics to give the fastest and most comprehensive rehabilitation program possible.
» Still not convinced custom orthotics are for you? Read the plantar fasciitis custom orthotics review
More Tips for Reducing Plantar Fasciitis Heel Pain
Combining orthotics, good footwear, and exercises always give the best long-term success.Be patient. It takes, on average, 6 months to fully recover from a really bad case of plantar fasciitis.
Everyone is different and this is never truer than when dealing with plantar fasciitis. This means that there is no magic bullet for everyone. However, the general rule of thumb is that in 99% of cases it is the overload of the foot that is to blame and this has to be removed.
Plantar fasciitis4 Signs Your Plantar Fasciitis Is HealingPlantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the fibrous tissue (plantar fascia) on the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes. It is a condition that causes severe heel discomfort and is one of the most prevalent causes of heel pain.
It is caused by small tears in the plantar fascia that can occur if tension and stress become too high. Although the origin of plantar fasciitis in many cases is unknown, repeated stretching and tearing can irritate or inflame the plantar fascia. There are various factors that raise the risk of acquiring this disease, such as:
Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
Long-distance jogging, ballet dancing, and aerobic dance are activities that put a lot of stress on your heel and connected tissue.
Flat feet, a high arch, or even an atypical walking pattern can impact how weight is distributed while standing, putting additional strain on the plantar fascia.
Excess weight puts additional strain on the plantar fascia.
Occupations that need you to be on your feet for long periods
Can Plantar Fasciitis Heal on Its Own?
Yes, Plantar fasciitis is a condition that can heal on its own. Without medical care, it usually goes away after 6–18 months. On the other hand, it can progress into a chronic problem in some people. Symptoms may ease before reappearing, or the discomfort may remain for a year or longer.
How Long Does It Take for Plantar Fasciitis to Heal?
It could take 6-12 months for your plantar fasciitis to go away completely. If no medical therapy is given, plantar fasciitis can take up to 18 months to heal.
Typical Signs of Plantar Fasciitis Recovery
There are four specific stages of plantar fasciitis healing, which are:
1. Less pain in the morning
The pain from plantar fasciitis is at its worst first thing in the morning. As this problem cures, you should experience less and less morning pain.
2. Less pain over time
The pain of plantar fasciitis can take a long time to go, but it should gradually fade. If your pain has been steadily decreasing, your plantar fasciitis is most certainly healing.
3. The pain is limited to the heel
People with severe plantar fasciitis frequently experience discomfort near their heels and along the arches of their feet. The pain should recede into the heel when the plantar fascia heals.
4. Knees, hips, and lower back no longer hurt
Plantar fasciitis can make walking difficult, and you may adjust your gait (the way you walk) to help relieve the pain. Changes in gait, on the other hand, might cause additional tension and pain in the knees, hips, and lower back. The fact that these areas aren't aching indicates that your plantar fasciitis is healing.
How to Heal Plantar Fasciitis Faster
Here are some techniques to speed up the healing time of plantar fasciitis:
1. Massage the soles of your feet
The pressure from a plantar fasciitis massage distracts the brain's pain receptors, increases blood flow to the arch and heel, and breaks down painful adhesions (tears that have not healed properly) on the plantar fascia ligament. Self-massage reduces pain significantly, according to the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies.
2. Use stretching and strengthening exercises
Stretching and strengthening exercises for plantar fasciitis should be done two or three times a day, but you don't have to do them all at once. Use a tennis ball or a rolling pin. Roll the rolling pin or ball with the arch of your foot while seated.
3. Use sock splints and orthotics
You should use orthotic inserts to cushion your feet and prevent pain while walking if you spend a lot of time on your feet. You can also use a sock splint to keep your foot gently stretched and decrease pain if you spend a lot of time sitting.
4. Try TENS therapy
TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) is a relatively new treatment for plantar fasciitis that uses modest doses of electrical current to stimulate the nerves in the feet, improving blood flow and interrupting the body's pain signals.
5. Apply ice packs
Icing is a great approach to relieve heel pain from plantar fasciitis and heel spurs right away.
Does Plantar Fasciitis Ever Go Away Permanently?
According to the Michigan University Medicine Department, most people recover entirely within a year. Nonsurgical treatments help roughly 95 out of 100 persons with plantar fasciitis recovery and relieve their heel pain. Only about 5 people in every 100 require surgery.
Plantar fasciitis can become a chronic condition for certain people. Symptoms may ease before reappearing, or the discomfort may persist for a year or longer. According to a 2018 study, persons who have had the disease before are more likely to get it again. PronationHow to Fix Overpronated AnklesAnkle overpronation, often known as flat feet, is a natural occurrence that occurs when the arches of the foot roll inward or downward while walking. The foot strikes the outside of the heel, then rolls inward (pronates), shifting weight to the inner edge of the foot rather than the ball of the foot. Overpronation can also occur while standing, and pronation refers to the degree that the foot rolls inward toward the arch.
As such, it is easy to check for overpronation by dipping your feet in water and standing normally on a sheet of cardboard or paper. If your connecting arch fills more than half of the width of the impression, there's a good chance you have overpronation.
People who overpronate are more likely to sustain particular injuries and knee, hip, and back pain. This is because it creates more impact when the foot strikes the ground by disrupting the body's normal position. Overpronators, athletes especially, are more prone to overuse injuries.
Causes and Risk Factors of Overpronation
Flat feet and overpronation are often related and influenced by each other. Overpronation occurs when the muscles, ligaments, and plantar fascia (arch) of the foot are strained, overused, or worn down, causing the foot to flatten too much and roll inward as it contacts the ground. Sometimes people with flat feet are born with them. However, certain factors and circumstances might raise a person's risk of developing flat feet or weakened arches, which can contribute to overpronation.
The following are some examples of causal conditions and situations:
PregnancyBeing overweight or obeseParticipating in any activity that requires striking the foot repeatedly on a hard surface for an extended period of time, such as runningWearing incorrect footwear
Can Overpronation Be Cured?
Yes, foot and ankle overpronation is curable. A doctor might suggest a variety of treatments to reduce pain and avoid re-injury. Treatment options for overpronation include the following:
Selecting footwear the supports the archesWearing orthotics or insoles for overpronationExercising to strengthen the arches and the muscles that surround them
People who have been injured by overpronation can take efforts to prevent further damage. The fusion can take up to 12 weeks to properly heal, and no weight should be placed on the foot for at least half of that time. Because of the lengthy immobilization, physical treatment may also be required.
Footwear for Treating and Preventing Overpronation
Things to look for while choosing orthotics or footwear for overpronated feet include:
Overpronation stability shoes
These use a strong midsole motion control system known as a medial post, and sometimes ankle braces, to stabilize the foot and help with overpronation.
Overpronation necessitates the use of specialized cushioning technology. Look for a foam that is both soft and springy while yet being stable.
Shoes with excessive flexibility will exacerbate your foot's natural tendency to roll inward. It's critical that your footwear keeps your feet secure.
Reinforced heel counters
These are a frequent component of stability shoes that provide maximal support for overpronated feet during a long run.
Wear your orthotics for overpronation only two to three times during the day, a few minutes at a time, for the first few days. Remove your orthotics in between wears to give your body a rest, and increase the time you wear them daily.
Exercises for Treating and Preventing Overpronation
A physical therapist is referred to a person with overpronation for strengthening exercises to correct pronation. These exercises for collapsed arches should help strengthen the muscles, help to lower loading forces, and reduce the pain of flat feet:
Your feet should be together when you stand.Engage your calves by rising onto the balls of your feet.Lower down until you feel a stretch in your calveskeep your knees straight but not locked.
Lie down on your back.Wrap a resistance band around your legs, slightly above your knees.Raise your hips and push your knees out further.Maintain outward tension on the band as you return to the starting position.
Begin with your right thigh parallel to the floor in a lunge position.Jump high and switch legs in mid-air, bringing the left leg forward.Land as softly as possible.
Start skipping with your feet together, forcing your right knee up hard to raise you off the ground.Drive your foot back down toward the ground while keeping it flexedRepeat on the other side.
Other Ways to Treat Overpronation
Excessive pronation can be treated conservatively by realigning the foot using a stiff orthotic to realign the subtalar joint. This type of orthotic is typically worn indefinitely.
Another option is surgical reconstruction, though this is difficult and time-consuming. If surgery is required, it may take up to a year to return to your previous state.
When Should You See a Doctor for Overpronation?
A diagnosis can be made by a podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon, or physical therapist. If you are enduring pain or a persistent injury as a result of overpronation, you should visit a specialist, especially after self-correction treatments have failed you. AnkleAnkle Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms, and TreatmentAnkle arthritis is a disorder in which the cartilage in the tibiotalar joint, which connects the foot to the leg, is damaged or worn out. The tibia, fibula, and farm are the three bones that make up this joint. Any or all of these bones may be affected by severe ankle arthritis.
Common symptoms of ankle arthritis include painful, tender, and stiff joints that make it difficult to walk or put weight on your feet. Additional symptoms include swelling and a restricted range of motion.
Early detection of arthritis in patients is important in reducing the chances of harmful long-term consequences. Even though rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cannot be prevented, early detection in patients is crucial. A better understanding of the disease can help you adjust and limit its impact, lowering the risk of severe long-term effects.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who are treated well can often prevent deformity and live a normal life span. Stopping inflammation has been demonstrated to lessen the risk of heart issues as well as joint swelling and ankle pain.
Causes of Ankle Arthritis
Sprains, fractures, and other injuries are very common in the ankle, and a post-traumatic joint is associated with about 12% of ankle arthritis occurrences. Any joint injured several times is more likely to develop arthritis. Some research has shown that ankle arthritis affects 70-80% of those who have had an injury to their ankle.
Underlying Medical Conditions
Research has noted that about 12% of ankle arthritis cases occur from an underlying medical problem. Rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, blood abnormalities (hemophilia), clubfoot or other congenital anomalies, and poor blood circulation damage the bones and cartilage of the ankle joint and are all conditions that can increase the chance of developing ankle osteoarthritis.
No Known Cause
Primary ankle arthritis occurs when ankle arthritis is not triggered by a trauma or an underlying medical disease. Only around 10% of ankle arthritis cases are due to primary ankle arthritis, according to research. People with primary ankle arthritis are typically older, have less pain, and have a greater range of motion than those who develop ankle arthritis as a result of an injury or other underlying condition.
How Is Ankle Arthritis Diagnosed?
An X-ray of your foot and ankle may be recommended by your doctor to confirm a diagnosis of arthritis and establish the severity of the condition. X-rays produce images of the bones in the foot and ankle, which doctors examine for any noticeable changes in joint space. For uncommon conditions, other tests such as an MRI or CT scan may be used. Blood testing may be used to diagnose ankle arthritis when it is part of a systemic disorder. Occasionally, a bone scan may be useful.
Surgical Treatments for Ankle Arthritis
A person's actions can be severely hampered if they lose the use of their ankle joint. Surgery to replace or stabilize the joint may be recommended if this occurs. With some forms of surgery, you can expect an improvement in the appearance of malformed joints. Methods of repair include:
A lighted scope and tiny devices are placed through small incisions in the ankles during this minimally invasive surgery. Surgeons remove cartilage or bone fragments from the joint space.
In fusion, surgeons remove the surfaces of the arthritis-affected bones and link them together with plates and screws until they grow together. The reduction of pain can be tremendous, but it comes at a cost: the loss of up-and-down and side-to-side movement.
Ankle replacement is a difficult procedure that requires a high level of surgical expertise. The surgeon makes an incision in the front of the ankle, removes the damaged bone and cartilage, reshapes the surfaces, and joins the artificial joint components using a specific glue during ankle replacement. The ankle is supported and stabilized by bone grafts and screws.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Ankle Arthritis
Your doctor may advise you to use shoe inserts (orthotics for arthritis), an ankle brace, or a cane. Another alternative is an ankle-foot orthosis, which is a custom-made shoe with a firm sole and a rocker bottom (AFO). Custom orthotics, such as MASS4D®, can enhance ankle stability in arthritis by restoring optimal range of motion at the ankle joint complex and allowing for an even distribution of pressure throughout the plantar surface of the foot. There are many benefits of arch support for your feet and ankles, including those that are arthritic.
Exercises and Other Techniques
Here are some exercises that can help with ankle arthritis:
Toe press, point, and curl are all variations on the same theme. Raise your heels and press down with your toes.Spread your toes as wide as possible and hold for five seconds.Marble pickup and ball rolling.Achilles stretching.Ankle rotations.
Other methods include:
Injecting a steroid into the joint.Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling.Pain relievers.Soothing foot baths to relieve pain.
When to See a Doctor for Ankle Arthritis
If you experience severe pain or swelling, symptoms of infection in the afflicted area such as redness, warmth, or tenderness, or a temperature of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or if your pain level is bad enough that you are unable to put weight on the foot and it is affecting your daily functioning, you should see a doctor immediately. Shin splintsShin Splints: Causes and Fastest Treatment OptionsShin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is an inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue surrounding the tibia. It is caused, aggravated, and treated by various conditions that will all be discussed within this article.
What Are Shin Splints?
The condition usually affects the posterior and anterior tibial tendons and, in more severe cases, the flexor digitorum longus and flexor hallucis longus tendons. The posterior tibialis, flexor digitorum, and soleus muscles mainly serve in stabilizing the lower leg and foot, as well as in pushing off while running.
Symptoms of Shin Splints
Pain is most commonly felt near the inner border of the tibia (shin bone), where the muscles bind to the bone. Additionally, you may experience the following symptoms:
Stiffness, soreness, cramps, or redness along the inside of your shinbone and related musclesMild swelling in your lower legNumbness and weakness in the feetAggravated pain after exercise
In severe cases, the pain may progress to a stress reaction or a stress fracture.
Causes of Shin Splints
Repetitive tension on the shinbone and the connective tissues is the most common cause of shin splints. Excessive force or bone fractures cause muscles to enlarge, which puts more pressure on the bone and causes pain and inflammation. Track and field athletes, especially sprinters and jumpers, are highly susceptible, as well as military cadets and vigorous dancers. This likelihood increases further in athletes with flat feet or particularly stiff arches.
The 7 Most Common Causes of Shin Splints
Starting or increasing the intensity of a sport or trainingWearing shoes that aren't supportiveRunning or participating in sports on hard surfacesRunning on sloping or uneven terrainPrior history of foot and ankle disordersInadequate running formTense calf muscles
Shin splints progress through four stages:
Pain that occurs as a result of sports activity
Pain that occurs before and after sports activity but has no effect on the individual's performance.
Pain that occurs before, during, and after sports exercise and impacts the individual's performance.
Severe pain that makes physical exercise impossible.
How to Treat Shin Splints
Shin splints typically necessitate a break from specific physical activity and a period of relaxation for your legs. Your doctor will most likely recommend the following home remedies:
Hold your legs elevated.Apply ice packs to minimize swelling.Take an anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve).Massage your shins using a foam roller.Using insoles or orthotics in your shoes if your arches collapse or flatten as you stand up.
To hasten shin splint recovery, you should relax and let your leg heal. You should also avoid activities that may aggravate the problem and follow the RICE method, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression (consider using compression socks for shin splints), and Elevation.
Shin splints are rarely treated surgically. If your shin splints are causing considerable pain and the symptoms have lasted for several months, your doctor may recommend surgery. It's impossible to predict when your shin splints will go away. It is determined by what caused them. People heal at varying rates as well, commonly within 3-6 months.
How to Prevent Shin Splints
You can avoid shin splints by doing the following:
Wear shoes that fit well and provide adequate support.Make use of shock-absorbing insoles.Avoid exercising on hard, sloping, or uneven terrain.Gradually increasing the intensity of activity.Warm up and stretch appropriately before exercising.Prevent abrupt increases in physical activity.Strength training, specifically toe movements that strengthen the calf muscles.Maintain a healthy body weight.
Any rigorous training program necessitates the strengthening of all surrounding muscle groups. Workouts should be diversified to minimize overuse and injury to any specific muscle group. If you have significant muscle pain or other physical problems, you should discontinue any intense activity program.
Athletes who wear proper footwear, gradually increase their activity level, cross-train, and utilize the RICE technique are more likely to prevent and treat shin splints. Plantar fasciitisThings to Avoid With Plantar FasciitisPlantar fasciitis results from micro-tears and a thickening of the plantar fascia. This tightening of the ligamentous band at the sole of the feet causes pain. Despite the pain and discomfort it causes, exercises and stretches will offer pain relief, are important in managing plantar fasciitis, and could even prevent it.
Along with rest, ice, and custom orthotics (inserts/insoles) for plantar fasciitis, the stretches and exercises help address the discomfort and inflammation. They also improve muscle strength and promote flexibility in the foot. However, there are stretches and activities to avoid with plantar fasciitis. Not all exercises are helpful. Some will even make the pain and discomfort worse and should be abstained from totally. For example, a weight-bearing exercise that requires you to stand for long.
How to Know if You Have Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis causes significant pain and is easily self-diagnosable. While the exact presentation may vary from person to person, the symptoms of plantar fasciitis are classic. It is often described as a dull, stabbing pain in the heel that worsens with prolonged sitting or lying down. It’s usually aggravated with the first steps of the morning and can cover the bottom of the whole foot.
A professional opinion from a medical doctor may also help ascertain your diagnosis. This will require the person to assess your foot for tender points. With just this, the cause of the pain can be identified.
How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis
The good news is that plantar fasciitis is treatable. The bad news is that sometimes, in the most severe cases, the full recovery may take as much as six months. Once you have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, the doctor or physiotherapist will prescribe several activities that will help improve the pain.
Plantar fasciitis treatment begins with getting off your feet (rest) and treating the inflamed foot with ice. Most plantar fasciitis will resolve with this. If it doesn’t, deep massage, exercises, and stretches can help improve the condition. Alongside these conservational treatment approaches, you can also use custom-made orthotic devices to bring pain relief.
What Makes Plantar Fasciitis Worse?
Left untreated, the symptoms of plantar fasciitis will worsen, and the condition will become complicated. This can lead to a plantar tear, plantar rupture, plantar fibromatosis, and heel spurs, all of which are not amenable to conservative treatment.
The following are activities or actions that could make plantar fasciitis worse:
Not getting the foot enough rest after the onset of symptomsParticipating in high-impact exercisesWalking without proper footwear or supportAdding extra weightAvoiding treatment/ignoring the symptomsProlonged sleeping or sittingConsuming excess sugarHigh arches or flat feetTight calf musclesInjury to the tendon in the leg, ankle, or foot
4 Plantar Fasciitis Myths Debunked
1. Walking makes plantar fasciitis better
Walking aggravates plantar fasciitis. Walking can make plantar fasciitis worse if it involves walking on hard surfaces, walking too fast, wearing ill-fitting shoes, or for prolonged periods. So, you should try to avoid walking with plantar fasciitis whenever possible.
While an outright rest may not be possible, you should cut back on any activity that makes your foot hurt. Consider standing for shorter periods and walking a lot less. You can also do some short stretches to prep your legs for periods of work and have an Epsom salt soak down afterward.
2. High heels are suitable for plantar fasciitis
Theoretically, a shoe with an elevated heel should reduce tension on the plantar fascia and thus reduce pain. In reality, high heel shoes increase the direct compressive force on your heel because they do not distribute your weight evenly. They also do not provide adequate support to your foot. Wearing crocs with plantar fasciitis, on the other hand, could be very beneficial.
3. Massage guns don't help plantar fasciitis
Yes, massage guns do help plantar fasciitis. Using massage guns on the heel produces vibrations and causes a deep massage effect. This relieves the tension in the tight fascia muscles and delivers more blood to the area, aiding healing and reducing inflammation.
4. Arch supports don't help plantar fasciitis
Flat feet will worsen plantar fasciitis so, and so this should be avoided. Arch support helps you do just this, providing a cushioning effect and elevation to the foot.
Early diagnosis and management of plantar fasciitis will prevent avoidable complications. Stretches and exercises form a core part of that management plan, and while they’ll help pain relief, they must be approached with care. Properly performed, plantar fasciitis can be completely resolved. Foot exercisesBest Exercises to Improve and Treat Your Hammer ToeA hammertoe is a condition of the foot characterized by a deformation of the middle joint of the toe. The middle joint bends abnormally, flexing or bending downwards so that the toe now looks like a hammer. While hammertoe is most common in the second, third, and fourth toes; it can also occur in the pinky toes.
Hammertoe results from an imbalance of muscles, ligaments, and tendons acting around the middle joint of the toe. The common causes include wearing tight and ill-fitting shoes with poor arch support and limited toe room; foot type and structure like with flat feet and abnormally high arches; long toes, genetics, trauma or injury to the foot or toe; a weak calf muscle; a strain caused by a bunion; certain diseases that affect the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments e.g. arthritis, diabetes, neuromuscular disorders, and strokes.
How You Can Straighten Your Hammer Toes at Home
Hammertoes when they occur can affect your walking. However, they can be straightened. Often, a combination of conservative treatments is enough to correct the deformity and prevent it from progressing. It is possible to straighten hammertoes at home and relieve symptoms of pain, impaired joint mobility, and discomfort by:
Use good and well-fitted shoes.Using custom orthotics for added support, comfort, and to prevent worsening of the deformity.Cortisone injections, if prescribed in certain chronic cases by your general practitioner.Anti-inflammatory medicines prescribed by your GP.Mallet toe splints and pads if prescribed by your healthcare practitioner.Exercise (stretching and strengthening).
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How Exercises Can Straighten Hammer Toes
Exercises can also help straighten hammertoes. An exercise program that comprises strengthening and stretching programs for the lower leg, foot, ankle, and toes can relieve foot pain and prevent the progression of the deformity.
Additionally, regular exercise of the foot maintains its flexibility, promotes healing, reduces inflammation, and restores balance in the foot. All these will result in a straighter toe.
Toe Stretch Exercises for Hammer Toes
It is essential to consult your physical therapist for the treatment of hammertoes. Their prescribed foot exercises for hammertoes will help stretch the tight muscles, strengthen the weak muscles, and improve joint mobility and ligament stability.
Certain exercises which can be done to relieve and correct hammertoe are as follows:
Towel Toe Curls
This exercise might help straighten out your hammertoe by working your extensor muscles.
Place a towel on the floor.In a sitting position, place your feet flat on the floor.Curl your toes and try to scrunch up the towel.Complete 10 repetitions.Extending your toes to push the scrunched towel forward.Complete 10 repetitions.
The above method amounts to the completion of 1 set. Perform 3 sets per day, about 5 times per week.
Toe Stretching With Fingers
Sit on the edge of your bed.Place the affected leg on the opposite knee in a figure-4 position.Bend the toes towards you.Hold for 30-40 seconds.Bend the toes away from you.Hold for 30-40 seconds. The above method amounts to the completion of 1 set. Perform 3-5 sets, 3 times per day, 7 times per week.
Toe Stretching With Towel
This is a variation on the above-listed technique and uses a towel instead of your hands.
Sit straight on the bed with your knees straight.Place a towel around the first half of your feet (ball of the feet), covering the toes.Pull the towel towards you.Hold the stretch for 20-30 secs before relaxing. You should feel the stretch in your toes and calf muscles. Perform 3-5 repetitions, 3 times per day, 7 times per week.
Spikey Ball Release and Rolls
This exercise helps in releasing the tension of the tight muscles and limited mobility of the joint. It is like a self-massage therapy technique for hammertoe relief.
Sit in a position that allows you to comfortably reach your foot while it is flat on the floor.With a spikey foam or plastic ball, push down on the front portion of your feet and toes.Twist the ball clockwise and anticlockwise for 5-10 minutes.Do the same thing on the sole of your feet under the toes.
Repeat 2 times a day, especially before bed when your feet are likely to be the most fatigued.
Ankle Toe Pump Exercise
Sit straight on the bed with both legs together and knees straight.With your heel touching the bed, pull your toes up to a point toward you (dorsiflexion).Hold for a few seconds.Point your toes down (dorsiflexion) and away from you.Hold for a few seconds.Repeat 10 times.
The above method amounts to the completion of 1 set. Perform 10 sets, 3 times per day, 7 times per week.
This can be done on either one foot at a time or with both feet together.
Sit with your feet flat out on the floor.Attempt to lift all your toes to the same height. Hold this position for up to 5 seconds.Lower your toes and repeat the process up to 10 times.
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Specific Exercises for Pinky Hammertoe
The pinky may be the smallest of the toes but if affected, it can be devastating to the owner as it also affects other parts of the body. It is particularly common in people who wear tightly fitted shoes such that the pinky toe curls under the fourth toe.
Pinky toe exercises to fix pinky hammertoe include the following;
Walking barefoot on the beach
Walking barefooted across the sand on the beach is magical. Likewise, it is a good exercise to strengthen your toes, feet, and calves. try to start with as little a time as possible and aim to scale from there.
Pinky toe stretch
Starting position: Sitting
Sit with your feet flat on the floor.Lift your leg and place the ankle on the alternate die.Placing your fingers in between your toes and use your hand to stretch the toes apart for as long as possible. Otherwise, move your toe up, down, and to every side, holding each position for 5 seconds.Put your foot back on the floor.Repeat at least ten times.
Standing Toe Stretch
Starting position: Standing
With your back against a wall, cross one leg over the other at the ankle.Point the toes of the affected foot, including the pinky toe, towards the floor.Push your toes and toenails against the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and then relax the toe.Repeat 10 times on the affected foot.
How Long Does It Take To Correct Hammer Toes?
Correcting hammertoes depends upon the stage it is in and whether the deformity is flexible (mobile) or fixed. Thus, the duration of its rehabilitation and recovery varies. It may take anywhere from a few weeks to months, according to different cases.
If the hammertoe doesn't heal and the only option you have is surgery, then it may take about three to six weeks of healing time. Of all the hammertoes, pinky toe hammertoe heal the quickest.
How Do You Keep Hammer Toes From Getting Worse?
Following all the preventive and curative measures of holistic management conservatively with the consultation of a podiatrist and physiotherapist will save you from surgery and heal the hammertoe faster.
Hammertoes have a risk of getting worse with age, making it even more important to abide by your health practitioner's recommendations and treatment plan. In addition, you can also perform the following exercises to prevent the future occurrence of hammertoes. These exercises include;
Regular sand walking
Do not hesitate to take off your shoes and walk barefoot on the sand at the slightest chance. This exercise helps to massage the feet, strengthen the toes, and provide general foot conditioning. Marble pick up
Scatter about twenty marbles around your feet and then one after the other, try to pick the marbles using your feet alone.Standing toe stretch
With your back against a wall, cross your left leg over the right leg at the ankle. Then, point the toes of your left foot and push them against the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and relax your toes. You can then repeat 10 times on each foot.
What Is the Best Cure for a Hammer Toe?
A combination of conservative management by visiting your podiatrist or physical therapist and following their treatment plan of daily exercise and stretching is the best way to cure and prevent your hammertoe from progressing and worsening further with time and age. Plantar fasciitisHow to Massage Plantar Fasciitis: Best Techniques and ToolsPlantar fasciitis remains a common cause of foot and heel pain. While there are many things to avoid with plantar fasciitis, massage is not one. Along with exercises for plantar fasciitis heel pain, they remain one of the most frequently used treatment procedures
This article provides a treatment guide for plantar fasciitis using massage as your primary tool.
Hand Massages for Plantar Fasciitis
Since plantar fasciitis pain is usually felt first thing in the morning, self-massages can be done before your step out of bed. Moreover, it is also essential to massage your feet at night while on the bed before going to sleep to take away all the stress and tension placed on your feet.
Listed below are a few hand massage techniques for plantar fasciitis.
Stroking and Effleurage Technique
Sit on the bed with your feet above the knee in a figure-4 position.Use the heel of your hand and your thumb to stroke the underside of your foot from the heel towards your toes.
Note: This can also be done using your knuckles, just make sure to adjust the pressure.Cover your full sole and your toes.Continue for 5-7 minutes on each foot for 1 set.Perform 2 sets per day.
Sit on the bed with your feet above the knee in a figure-4 position.With the pad of your thumb, push on the sore points of your sole in a circular motion (kneading).Knead each point for about 10 seconds, covering the whole foot (including the painless spots).Adjust the pressure to your comfort.Continue for 5-7 minutes on each foot for 1 set.Perform 2 sets per day.
Note: This can also be done with your knuckles if the pressure isn't too much to bear.
Cross Fiber Massage
Using the above method of stroking and kneading, massage the foot vertically from heel to toe, covering the full length of your arch.Then massage horizontally, from side to side, covering the width of your arch. Continue for 2-5 minutes on each foot for 1 setPerform 2 sets per day.
Using Massage Tools for Plantar Fasciitis
Massaging tools are commonly used as an at-home treatment method alongside other clinical treatments. The most frequently used is a ball and a roller.
Listed below are a few tool massage techniques for plantar fasciitis.
Ball Massage Technique
Sit on a chair or stand with support.Place a tennis or a therapy ball under the sole of your feet.Slowly and gently roll your feet on the ball back and forth from the heel to the toes with as much pressure as is bearable.A soft spike ball can also be usedContinue for 7 mins, once a day.
Note: A soft spike ball can also be used if it doesn't cause you pain to give yourself a deep tissue massage.
Massage Guns for Plantar Fasciitis
Massage guns are a new massage tool used for pain relief, muscle recovery, and relaxation. They have adjustable vibration settings and also come with a different knob for different parts of your body
They can be used for plantar fasciitis but should be done so with caution if you aren't a registered healthcare practitioner due to their high intensity and different functions. Deep tissue massages with a tool help in recovery from plantar fasciitis and should only be used for a maximum of 3 minutes and thrice a week.
There are several other tools like a plantar fasciitis massage roller, different types of balls, etc available in the market as products used in foot rehabilitation.
When Should You See a Podiatrist for Plantar Fasciitis?
It is recommended to visit your podiatrist when the pain is persistent and begins to restrict your movement. They may suggest a pair of custom orthotics for plantar fasciitis along with other conservative management (such as eccentric stretching) depending upon your foot type and individual need.
The sooner you see a healthcare practitioner and obtain treatment products, the faster your recovery from plantar fasciitis will be.
Does Foot Massage Help Plantar Fasciitis?
Massaging your feet for plantar fasciitis is a good way to relieve pain and relax your feet as it improves circulation. However, it is extremely important to know the right method to use. This way, you can avoid any flare-ups in your current pain level and prevent your condition from becoming exacerbated.
Firstly it is essential to know the correct method of massaging and when to do it. Also, know that when done incorrectly, massaging may aggravate the condition. With all massage types, be gentle to start with and increase the pressure if you feel comfortable to avoid inflicting pain. Additionally, the use of a moisturizer or oil helps avoid friction. Plantar fasciitisThe Effectiveness of Cortisone Injections for Plantar FasciitisOften, many individuals who suffer from heel pain may have a common foot condition called plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory condition that affects the plantar fascia (the band of tissue running under the foot and connecting the heel bone to the toes). There are many supposed treatments for such conditions, including the use of cortisone injections in your heel, but how effective is this method of treatment?
What Is a Cortisone Injection?
Cortisone injections are also called corticosteroid injections, which are basically an artificial version of the hormone cortisol. Therefore, "cortisone" and "steroid" have no difference, but you shouldn't confuse the two with illegal anabolic steroids that are designed to increase muscle mass. Cortisone is a type of steroid that lowers inflammation, leading to less pain.
How Does a Cortisone Shot Help Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammatory condition, and cortisone injections help by reducing the inflammation and pain for a temporary period. It is important to note that many foot conditions are caused by biomechanical dysfunctions of the foot. Thus, getting a cortisone shot is not a cure for plantar fasciitis.
The moment the positive effects of the cortisone shot start wearing off, the symptoms will start showing up if the cause of the disease has not been treated. This makes it neccessary to undergo a holistic treatment approach of physical therapy, podiatry, orthotic use, and other conservation treatment options.
How Long Does a Cortisone Shot Last in the Foot for Plantar Fasciitis?
The positive effects of cortisone shots typically last between 3 weeks and 3 months, but might last longer in certain circumstances. It all depends on the mg of cortisone given in one shot and the type of cortisone (long-acting or short-acting). Though if your cortisone shot for plantar fasciitis didn't work, you should know within the next few days.
Depending upon the stage of your plantar fasciitis (acute, sub-acute, or chronic), level of pain, and the results of prior conservative treatments, the general practitioner would decide on the injection dose, injection technique, and frequency of further injections.
Cortisone injections are usually only given only in chronic conditions with severe pain and after conservative treatment options have failed after 6-9 months.
For proper aftercare for your plantar fasciitis steroid injection, It is recommended to stay off your foot for about 30-60 minutes after the cortisone shot, and heavy exercises and overactivity should be avoided for the next 24-48 hours to reduce the recovery time and risk of bruising, pain, and other side effects.
What Are the Risks of Cortisone Injections in the Foot?
Initially, cortisone injections in the foot hurt considerably due to there being less soft tissue compared to the other body parts like the buttocks.
It is important to keep in mind that there are risks to every medical procedure, and plantar fasciitis steroid injections are no different. The risk of side effects from plantar fasciitis steroid injections increases with a higher injection dose and frequency, and are listed below:
Heel fat pad atrophyPlantar fascia ruptureDamage to the cartilage of the ankle and foot joints Infection of the jointsDamage to the nerves of the foot Weakening of the tendonsThinning of the skin and other soft tissues around the site of the injectionOsteoporosis of the surrounding bone Discoloration of the skin around the injection areaBruising and swellingTemporary aggravation in pain and inflammation of the joint
Are Cortisone Shots for Plantar Fasciitis Worth It?
Cortisone injections have always been a controversial topic of discussion. In order to give accurate advice, you have to consider the pros and cons of cortisone shots for plantar fasciitis, such as the high risk they present alongside their temporary benefit of potentially only a few weeks.
Therefore, it is recommended to go for cortisone shots only if all the other conservative management has failed after 6-9 months of doing it regularly, and only if your chronic condition is flaring up with a debilitating effect. OrthoticsBenefits of Cycling OrthoticsCycling is a very leg-intensive sport that has innumerable advantages like improved cardiovascular health, decreased body fat, improvement of joint mobility, and improvement in the strength of the muscles of the lower body. However, due to the prolonged intensity of the activity, it might put extra strain on the legs without the use of proper footwear.
Can You Cycle Without Cycling Shoes?
Running shoes are generally okay for those who don't spend hours every day cycling. If cycling makes up a small portion of your day, such as transport to and from school, you don't need to spend the extra money on a pair of specialized cycling shoes.
However, if you are an avid cyclist who spends hours every day (either on the road or in a gym for exercise), then regular running shoes might not be good enough and may result in muscle imbalances and reduced power with every pedal stroke. Cycling shoes are necessary for individuals riding regularly as they are designed with stiffer soles for generating a more efficient energy transfer while pedalling.
How Can Orthotics Help Cyclists?
All athletes can find some benefit from orthotics. Cycling orthotics are of high value and can offer the following benefits to your performance:
Improved performanceMaximizing efficiency to the pedalsIncreased power/torque in the push phaseAssistance in addressing the mechanical instability of the feet and angular instability of the legsEven force distributionImproved shoe fit
Additionally, they can provide the following benefits for pain relief and comfort:
Reduced foot fatigueCycling arch supportA customized and comfortable environment inside the footwear, leading to an improved shoe fitPrevention and relief from foot painRelief from plantar fascial tensionBetter metatarsal padding
Which Orthotics Are Best for Cyclists?
Over the counter (OTC) orthotics can be used for cycling in some instances, but it is not recommended.
Regardless of whether you are a professional cyclist or just an average person who cycles regularly, it is essential to get custom made insoles for cycling shoes due to the frequency of your activity. Cycling insoles are especially recommended and necessary for individuals who have flat feet, excessive foot supination and pronation postures, posterior tibial tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.
The cycling orthotics from Upstep are highly recommended, both for a regular cyclist and a professional, whether your goal is to enhance sports performance or protect from injuries. Custom cycling shoe insoles will provide a proper fit for the unique specifications of your feet.
Upstep's cycling inserts are designed to fill the spaces created between the foot and shoe by using a unique mould of your feet. They are sure to maximize power output by:
Improving comfort through a reduced movement of the foot within the shoe.Facilitating proper foot function.Spreading the load more evenly.Maximizing energy return and support.
The best choice would be to go for orthotics made of high-quality CNC materials comprised of copolymerise EVAs and polypropylene that offer ultimate comfort without compromising support and protection.
» Looking to up your game? Upstep's Multi-Sport Custom Orthotics may be the answer.
Are Cycling Orthotics Worth It?
Due to the support, comfort, enhancing the performance with protection from future injuries, aches, and pains, cycling orthotics are worth opting for to make your cycling activity enjoyable and faster. Also, it is important to consider the fact that while cycling orthotics have many pros, the only real con is the extra cost you'll have to afford in an already expensive sport.
If you don't identify yourself as an avid cyclist with a vested interest in the hobby or as a professional, then you don't need to spend the extra cost on a pair of cycling orthotics. Although the demand on your legs is prolonged and consistent, there is relatively low impact stress with a similarly low risk of injury, especially for those who use cycling either as a method of transport or casual hobby.