Treatment of foot pain by the podiatrist
Last update: 6 May 2021
Foot pain can appear in many ways and cause many accompanying symptoms every day.
Thanks to the high level of the podiatrist’s expertise, however, you can count on treatment that is completely customized to your needs and condition. These professionals possess the latest technology to treat your pain quickly and accurately.
It is the podiatrist’s duty to keep up with the latest intervention techniques to get rid of your foot pain. Thanks to their continuous training, you can be sure that your feet are in good hands.
Discover the most important treatments that podiatrists use every day to remedy foot pain.
Thanks to technological advances in the world of podiatry, patients can rely on a completely safe and effective method of treating joint, tendon or ligament problems: ultrasound-guided injection.
Unlike in the past, when injections were performed rather crudely, this type of ultrasound procedure helps the podiatrist to act with much more precision, by allowing them to get into hard-to-reach places.
The ultrasound-guided injection also allows the podiatrist to:
- Focus a drug solution on a specific area of the foot;
- Administer cortisone injections into the foot;
- Prevent complications during treatment;
- Treat cases of osteoarthritis in the ankle;
- Relieve pain associated with Morton’s neuroma, plantar fasciitis, heel spur, capsulitis, tendonitis, etc.
Available directly in a podiatry clinic, ultrasound-guided injection is a quick, precise and painless solution to help in all problematic areas of the foot.
Despite its great effectiveness and many benefits, sometimes certain measures can be taken after the procedure to promote healing:
- Taking pain pills;
- Temporarily stopping exercise;
- Avoiding any repetitive motion;
- Doing mobility exercises.
The podiatrist is there to determine if your condition requires this type of injection, which is not appropriate for all foot pain.
Shockwave therapy uses an applicator to send high-intensity percussion waves into the painful area of the foot. These waves penetrate through the skin into the area being treated and accelerate healing by causing microtrauma that triggers the body to respond.
So you could say that shockwave therapy shakes things up a bit to activate the healing process even more. This is especially valuable in the treatment of:
- Heel spur;
- Achilles tendonitis;
- Bursitis and tendonitis;
- Any sports injury.
Treating foot pain in this way may seem counterintuitive at first. However, shockwave therapy offers several benefits that have been proven with time:
- Few side effects;
- Avoid surgery;
- Simple and fast;
- Increased precision.
Now, while shockwave therapy is usually harmless, there are some details to keep in mind. In particular, it should be avoided in people with anticoagulant, diabetes, immunosuppressed individuals, pregnant women, or those with cardiovascular problems. Again, the podiatrist is your best bet to learn the best way to treat your pain.
The therapeutic laser
This high-power laser therapy allows the podiatrist to reach the deep tissues of your foot using completely harmless beams of light. The therapeutic laser‘s light beams serve to penetrate the epidermis to relieve pain in your feet.
It treats such pathologies or injuries as:
- Stress fractures;
- Bursitis and tendinitis;
- Muscle strain;
- Certain dermatological conditions such as plantar ulcers;
- Pain associated with osteoarthritis or neuropathic problems.
The therapeutic laser is not only fast, but also an excellent alternative to other, more invasive techniques. On top of that, it has excellent anti-inflammatory properties, provides long-term relief and treats all types of tissue.
After the podiatrist has pinpointed the cause of your pain, they can decide if the use of the therapeutic laser is necessary. If it is, they must also determine:
- The laser exposure time;
- The pulse rate;
- The width of the beam.
All in all, the podiatrist’s expertise is essential to using the therapeutic laser in the right way. Each of these decisions has a direct impact on your podiatric treatment.
Ultrasound treatment involves the podiatrist using a terminal and applicator to treat your pain with ultrasonic sound waves. These waves create a vibration in the skin that soothes your foot pain.
However, the ultrasound treatment does not only relieve the pain, it also helps:
- Promote better circulation;
- Soften certain tendons;
- Reduce swelling and inflammation;
- Speed up the healing process.
Ultrasound can also treat an impressive number of foot injuries and pathologies, like:
- Ankle sprains;
- Sores and ulcers;
- Spasms and stiffness;
- Lower back pain.
It should be noted, however, that in the vast majority of cases ultrasound is used in conjunction with other types of treatment. Again, the good practices of the podiatrist are invaluable in making sure everything goes smoothly.
Athletes who struggle with pain are probably familiar with therapeutic taping. However, this type of taping is not only used to treat sports injuries, but also many individuals in their daily lives. There are also 3 types of taping, depending on the nature of the pain:
- The athletic taping: to prevent aggravation of a sports injury.
- The neuro-proprioceptive taping: to stabilize and stimulate muscles.
- The therapeutic taping: to reduce the level of tension and stress in a structure.
Used to alleviate a variety of problems, therapeutic taping comes particularly handy in treating:
- Joint swelling;
- Muscle tension;
- Muscle weaknesses;
- Post-surgery pain;
- Shin splints and plantar fasciitis.
The podiatrist will first assess your posture and also perform a full biomechanical exam before applying the therapeutic taping. After that, they will be able to suggest the right type of taping for your condition, which will be applied following a series of very specific steps. In some cases, the podiatrist may also use the taping to complement other treatments, such as manual foot therapy.
Cortisone, derived from cortisol, is a steroid hormone secreted by your kidneys that was discovered between the 1930s to 1950s. It is normally used by your body to regulate itself and manage stress, but cortisone also has well established therapeutic properties. It is used for the treatment of:
- Ankle pain;
- Heel pain;
- Knee pain;
- Pain under the foot.
If you would like to relieve inflammatory foot pain, sometimes a cortisone injection is the solution. It is mainly used when conservative treatments are not enough to get rid of your foot pain.
Contrary to some myths that have been debunked several times, cortisone injection has very positive effects on your treatment:
- It penetrates the tissues easily;
- It facilitates convalescence;
- It accelerates pain relief;
- It is a natural, non-toxic and non-allergenic hormone.
While cortisone is absolutely safe, it can cause some side effects such as itching or redness. You can count on your podiatrist’s expertise to know how to limit the number of injections so that these side effects are avoided.
Ultrasound of the foot
Musculoskeletal ultrasound of the foot allows the podiatrist to clearly determine what type of discomfort is being caused in your ligaments, tendons, nerves or muscles. This is an important technique to perform a more thorough clinical examination.
Thanks to this method of medical imaging all of the podiatrist’s patients can count on the most accurate diagnosis without radiation and without danger. It is also used to:
- Detect plantar fasciitis or Morton’s neuroma;
- Perform ultrasound-guided injections;
- Track the condition of an injury;
- Prevent potential problems that could worsen.
On top of that, this type of ultrasound only takes about 20 minutes on average! And the podiatrist knows exactly what to assess to make sure everything goes smoothly. After all, they are the professionals when it comes to feet!
Custom-made foot orthoses
New technologies like 3D digital imaging allow the podiatrist to design an orthotic that perfectly matches the morphology of your foot based on an impression.
These orthotics are very durable and long lasting, and differ greatly from those available over-the-counter at pharmacies. They can be flexible, semi-flexible or rigid, depending on your needs. This type of device is used to correct a wide range of problems affecting the feet, ankles, heels or knees, such as:
Wearing an orthotic requires a short period of adaptation, but the recommendations of your podiatrist will allow you to quickly get used to it. You will rapidly forget about them even being in your shoes. Now, the best part is that there are foot orthoses for everyone:
- The elderly.
You can even get shorter insoles that fit easily into any type of shoe. Trust your podiatrist for a comfortable and custom orthotic.
Digital X-ray of the feet
Unlike the ultrasound, this procedure uses x-rays to detect bone problems in the foot or ankle. It is usually performed before the ultrasound.
This is the ideal treatment for detecting problems such as:
- A dislocation;
- A fracture;
- Bone infection;
Rest assured that this is a safe method because the podiatrist knows how to minimize your exposure to x-rays. Plus, you can get your results on the same day! You can trust your podiatrist’s expertise to ensure a smooth process.
Performed by a podiatrist or a nursing assistant specializing in podiatry, foot care can treat nail problems, such as onychomycosis or ingrown toenails. It is also used to treat plantar warts, cracks in the foot, corns and calluses.
Foot care treatments have for purpose to alleviate certain nail deformities that can result in pain, thanks to a variety of physical, pharmacological, surgical (if necessary), and orthopedic techniques. Here are some examples of foot care most commonly administered by podiatrists:
- Applying special creams;
- Assessing the pressure points of the foot;
- Performing surgical debridement of corns and calluses;
- Trimming and thinning out nails;
- Performing foot baths.
Whether it is a nail deformity, fungal infection or diabetes, foot care helps to relieve your foot pain. Trust your podiatrist to provide you with the most appropriate care.
Manual foot therapy
The podiatrist can help your feet regain functionality and reduce your pain level using a series of very precise manipulations. Are you used to certain physical activities? Your podiatrist will know how to mobilize all the joints to restore the ease of all your movements, painlessly.
This mobilization technique begins with an assessment of your joints, followed by an accurate diagnosis. The podiatrist will then know exactly how to:
- Strengthen and stabilize the muscles;
- Free the tissues;
- Restore joint mobility.
They can use different manipulation techniques to treat problems such as:
- Plantar fasciitis;
- Heel spur;
- Hallux valgus;
Manual therapy is also useful in preparing your feet for orthopedic treatment. All in all, the podiatrist uses it in all kinds of situations. Their expertise will offer you the best technique.
Podiatry covers everyone, and children are no exception! Before your child takes their first steps, it is important to examine their feet and look for abnormalities as early as possible. From the first month of life until puberty, your child can count on the podiatrist’s expertise to help prevent foot pain later in their development. It’s always better to prevent than to cure.
Here are some signs that your child may need an examination by a podiatrist:
- They often experience pain in legs or feet;
- They frequently stumble and have difficulty moving easily;
- The arch of their foot seems to have sagged;
- They get tired quickly after exercise;
- Their feet and legs don’t seem to be in good shape.
Podopediatry allows your children to grow up without problems and quickly benefit from adapted solutions for:
- Flat or cavus feet;
- Posture or gait problems;
- Fatigue and pain.
In short, there really is no age when you can’t benefit from the expertise of a podiatrist.
Biomechanical foot exam
The biomechanical examination is a must to determine how your foot responds when you walk. In fact, it is crucial for understanding the mechanics of your movements to determine the cause of your foot pain.
In addition to evaluating the movement of the foot, the podiatrist will also:
- Validate certain biomechanical pathologies;
- Understand the dynamics of your feet in action;
- Identify certain joint damage and physical limitations;
- Assess the source of your pain.
They will examine you in different contexts:
- Sitting or lying down (without weight bearing);
- Standing and immobile;
- Standing and moving.
Once the examination is complete, the podiatrist can determine with certainty what type of treatment is appropriate for your pain. This process allows the podiatrist to gather the evidence necessary to determine the best course of action. They will be able to explain in detail the causes of your foot pain as well as further treatment.
Along with the biomechanical examination, the postural assessment also plays an important role in determining your treatment. This technique allows you to confirm or refute assumptions that the podiatrist may have made during your biomechanical exam.
In order to determine what exactly is at the root of your pain, you often need to observe things that are invisible to the naked eye. Think of phenomena like:
- Unequal legs;
- Misalignment of the knees;
- An asymmetry of the pelvis;
- A problem of posture.
Accurate, objective, safe and fast, the postural assessment provides results during the same session with your podiatrist. Using special cameras that project light, your doctor can take detailed images of your body to understand your condition and explain it to you. This type of imaging speeds up the assessment and also allows you to measure changes in your posture during treatment.
It is a highly efficient process that helps avoid many mistakes!
Minor foot surgery
Surgery can be unavoidable in some situations. But rest assured, these operations are painless as they are performed after local anesthesia, with sterilized equipment.
Minor foot surgeries can be performed in various forms, depending on your condition. These include:
Patients recover from this type of minor foot surgery very quickly, and you are often able to resume your normal activities in no time. On top of that, the podiatrist knows how to mitigate the risk of complications. Undoubtedly, this professional understands how to make a positive contribution to your daily life.
Bone surgery on the foot
Bone surgery on the foot involves particularly problematic situations where your pain level or movement restriction needs to be curbed.
Some podiatrists are specially trained in foot surgery, which is taught in the United States. This specialization allows these podiatrists to operate on you while maintaining the highest applicable medical standards. Thanks to their expertise, you can expect surgery that is sometimes a bit more complex, but never painful. Here are some examples:
In this type of surgery, the podiatrist-surgeon will alter the architecture of your foot to eliminate pain and give you relief in your movements. This last resort is used in the most extreme cases when other treatments are simply insufficient. One thing is clear, however: a podiatrist who specializes in foot bone surgery is the best professional to perform this type of operation.
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We hope this overview of the various treatment options for your foot pain has answered many of your questions about specific pathologies or limitations that may bother you on a daily basis.
If you still have questions about your foot pain, you’ll find plenty of useful information on our website to help you out. However, nothing is quite as good as a consultation with a podiatrist to help you understand your condition more clearly.
Take care of your feet, they are precious!
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