Foot Injuries

Hallux Valgus

An alternate name for this condition is a bunion in which the base of the big toe becomes prominent on the inside of the foot.  This bulge is made of bone and soft tissue and is commonly caused by the prolonged wearing of ill fitting shoes, particularly ones that squeeze the toes into unnatural positions.  Bunions can be prevented by wearing proper fitting shoes.  The symptoms are pain in that area especially when walking, stiffness in the big toe and inflammation of the toe.

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The primary mechanism to heal this is via surgery.  Without surgery, physical therapy will work to ease the pain, which is limited, but with surgery treatment will include recovery in strengthening the toe and foot.

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

The posterior tibial tendon is vital in supporting the arch and foot while walking and it attaches the calf muscle to the bones on the inside of the foot.  This tendon can tear due to a fall or sudden twist in movement or through overuse.  Symptoms include pain along the inside of the ankle that is often worse with activity and swelling may also be present.

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Physical therapy will aim to strengthen the tendon and supporting muscles to prevent further injury and maintain full range of motion.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is the largest in the body and connects the calf muscle to the heel bone of the foot.  This condition involves the inflammation of this tendon which is often caused by repetitive stress on it through pushing the body beyond its abilities. An example would be trying to run a marathon when the body is only trained for a half-marathon.  Symptoms include pain and stiffness along the tendon, thickening of the tendon, swelling and a bone spur is also possible.

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Treatment includes stretching out the calf muscle and the tendon as well as strengthen the overall musculature of the foot to provide stability.

Plantar Fasciitis

This condition occurs when the strong band of tissue that supports the arch of the foot becomes irritated and inflamed.  The strong band is designed to absorb the stress placed on the feet during every day activities, however, excessive pressure causes damage.  Risk factors include obesity, a high arch, repetitive impact activity such as running, and engaging in a new strenuous activity.  Common symptoms are pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel and a greater level of pain following activity.

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Physical therapy treatment will work on stretching tight calf muscles and the plantar region as well as strengthen the foot overall.