Spring is almost here! Along with blooming flowers, sunny days, there will also be increasing cases of foot pain. Why? As the temperatures rise outside, the amount of activities such as running and tennis increase. Many times, this can leave the athlete hobbling out of bed in the morning wondering “what has happened to my foot?”
Any type of pain is a bummer, but foot pain can really hinder your daily activities and favorite pastime. Since the foot is the first part of our bodies to contact the ground as we move, foot pain can start to cause issues elsewhere as we change our movement to accommodate the pain. It is better to nip it in the bud as soon as you can!
There are many factors that could cause foot pain. Increasing load is often one of the first variables. As Spring arrives,tennis clubs start back up and races are more frequent for 5K-ers and marathoners. This spike in the amount of use of the foot may be enough to cause discomfort.
Another variable is the biomechanics of the foot and entire leg (a.k.a how it moves). If you have foot weakness and therefore challenge controlling it’s motion as you run and pivot, then you may be setting yourself up for some issues down the line. If anything, a decrease in efficiency!
Wondering where to start? Here are a few of my favorite go-tos for decreasing pain and increasing function in feet! As always, these are not intended to help diagnose or treat diagnoses. These are mobilizations and exercises for the foot region.
Soft tissue to specific areas in the foot: We have probably all tried some variation of this mobilization. In this video I go through a few different specific places on which to focus. You can use a harder mobility ball or something softer like a tennis ball to decrease the intensity. Start with 1-2 minutes at a time, either sitting or standing.
Toe Yoga: This may seem odd, but it’s really challenging! Give it a try. We should be able to control our big toe separate from our smaller toes. But after years of shoving our shoes in tight and super supportive footwear, many of us will lose the strength and control for this drill. Try to perform 10 reps of each of the exercises on each foot. How did it go?
Lower Leg Floss: This mobilization may look like a calf or hamstring stretch, but what it is targeting are nerve divisions that run in the lower leg and foot. Quite a few of “plantar fasciitis” cases turn out to be nerve tension or irritation that is presenting in the lower leg or foot. If anything, this may help improve your ankle mobility.
Give these a try and share with a friend who also has had foot pain recently!
As usual, self-management is always the first step. If it doesn’t improve then it’s time to reach out to the pros (Physical Therapists like me!) for further investigation.
Looking for videos of other exercises and mobilizations? Check out the Spectrum Performance YouTube Channel so over 200 videos!
Foot pain is the worst! It really challenges daily tasks and especially fitness activities.
I shared a few videos of great mobilizations and exercises to try to improve foot pain and function-- check it out above.
If you try to manage the issues for a few weeks with no improvement, it is time to go see a Physical Therapist.
Have questions about how to address your foot pain and want to work with a DPT who can keep you active? Send an email to info@SpectrumPerformance.fit and let’s schedule some time to chat about your goals!
Check out the Spectrum Performance YouTube Channel so over 200 videos!
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Jackie, DPT