Old grandfather clocks need plenty of love and maintenance. They have to be wound regularly and checked to make sure the time is right. If their gears are just a little out of alignment, they won’t work properly. Your feet are a finely-tuned instrument as well. When something small is off, it can have painful consequences. Physical therapy for feet is a way of treating your lower limbs conservatively to address the way they’re functioning and fix the problem.
What Physical Therapy Can Do for You
This broad field of treatment types is designed to improve your general movement, restore physical functions, improve your fitness level, and alleviate pain. This can be a huge deal for your feet. After all, they are some of the hardest working members of your body. They have to support your weight when you stand as well as the added pressure of pushing off when you walk or run and the hard impacts of striking the ground when your feet land. Physical therapy can help keep your lower limbs “finely tuned” and working correctly.
Types of Physical Therapy for Feet
Therapy for your feet is generally meant to fulfill a couple different purposes. Alleviating pain is a common reason. This could be as simple as stretching overly tight muscles or connective tissues. It could mean strengthening certain structures, too, particularly if they aren’t functioning right.
This, of course, ties it closely to another purpose: improving movement and restoring lower limb function. Many conditions like arthritis, fallen arches, heel pain, and more can interfere with your normal foot functions or prevent joints from working properly. Therapy’s aim is to maintain or restore range of motion in your joints, as well as strengthen muscles in your feet so they are able to do their job.
This treatment method is particularly useful after an injury or surgery. Once the body has repaired all the tissue damage, it still needs to regain strength. Your feet don’t automatically return to their former power and ability. Working them slowly rebuilds muscle and retrains the feet to function correctly, helping the overall healing process.
You don’t have to have a problem to benefit from physical therapy for feet, though. Athletes use it to improve their performance regularly. The therapy can act as an extra training boost that teaches your feet to function correctly and efficiently for your sport. This extra conditioning then helps the feet to perform better when it matters most.
Types of Exercises
Exercises are always tailored to fit your exact needs. Our team at Martin Foot and Ankle will evaluate your lower limbs and use the finding to determine what type would most benefit you. Here are just a few of the most common exercises that you might use:
- Point-and-Flex – Holding your foot out in front of you, slowly point it as far as you can. Then slowly flex your foot up all the way. Repeat multiple times.
- Heel Raises – Stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart. Slowly raise your heels as high as you can, then lower to neutral. Repeat multiple times.
- Marble Pick-Ups – With your bare feet, pick up marbles or other small objects on the floor and put them into a bowl.
- Calf Stretches – Lunge forward on one foot while keeping the back heel planted firmly on the ground. Start by keeping your back knee straight as well and using a wall for balance. Lean forward until you feel a stretch. Repeat with your back knee bent.