WHEN YOUR STEPPING STONES ARE COMPROMISED
Made up of 33 ligaments, 26 bones and multiple tendons and ligaments, the foot is the most complex joint in the human body. And if you don’t land on a stable foot with each step — due to injury, age or disease — you can easily throw off your entire gait pattern, putting increased pressure on your knees, hips and back. The most common foot and ankle injuries we treat include:
Achilles tendon tear
The Achilles tendon attaches your calf muscles to your heel. It’s the largest, thickest and strongest tendon in the human body and can withstand up to four times a person’s body weight. But since it’s used any time you walk, run, climb, jump or simply push up on your toes, it’s also very prone to injury. In fact, any type of repetitive stress on the tendon can cause injury, from tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon) to tears. If the Achilles tendon is torn or ruptured, surgery is required to repair and reinforce the tendon, followed by physical therapy to restore strength and function.
Your plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue connecting your heel bone to your toes, creating the arch of your foot. When this thick band of tissue constantly gets pulled on due to overuse or improper foot support in your shoes, the tissue becomes inflamed and may cause excruciating pain, known as plantar fasciitis. The typical complaint of plantar fasciitis is pain first thing in the morning when standing or walking. Treatment may include rest and ice to help reduce the inflammation, along with stretching the tissue to reduce pressure.
One of the main symptoms of psoriatic arthritis is joint pain and swelling, and the foot is the joint most often affected. Sufferers will feel substantial pain and swelling throughout the feet and toes, making it very difficult to stand or walk. Physical therapy can help maintain movement and prevent further joint injury. Working with a nutritionist and rheumatologist may also help slow the progression of the condition and protect the joints.
Diabetes is an unfortunate epidemic in today’s society. Increased blood sugar levels can cause damage to nerves throughout the body, most commonly affecting the peripheral nerves of the legs and feet. Symptoms include severe burning pain and numbness in the legs and feet, as well as problems with your digestive system, urinary tract and heart. While a medical doctor can help devise a diabetes treatment plan, physical therapy helps ease the physical symptoms.