Foot Pain

Foot pain is very common and can affect all ages. It can be the result of injury to the ligaments, tendons, nerves or bones of the foot, but can also be referred from other areas of your body, mainly the lower back. Our physiotherapists are trained to assess your condition thoroughly to determine the cause of your pain to enable an effective treatment plan to be made. Listed below are some of the more common foot problems we see at the clinic.

Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)

The plantar fascia is a common source of heel pain in adults. It is a thick layer of connective tissue under the sole of the foot, running between the calcaneus (heel bone) and the toes. It provides the foot with stability and makes up the arch of the foot. Plantar fascia pain, often known as plantar fasciitis can be caused by a traumatic event (such as landing heavily on a sharp stone), or it can come on insidiously over a period of time due to a variety of factors. These may include a combination of the following: poor foot mechanics, poor footwear choices, being overweight or pregnant, high activity levels and flattened or very high foot arches. It is more likely to develop in middle to older age. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain under your heel near the arch of your foot that is usually worse first thing in the morning or after periods of rest, and can sometimes improve as you exercise. Your physiotherapist can assess what factors may be contributing to your pain, and make a plan for your recovery. Treatment can include joint mobilisation, massage, stretching, foot strengthening exercises, strapping/taping, acupuncture and strengthening exercises for the lower limb. If we think that your footwear may be contributing to your pain, we can refer you to a podiatrist for further assessment.

Morton’s neuroma

This is a problem affecting the sheath of one of the nerves between the metatarsal bones, which are located in your forefoot near your toes. It is also known as intermetatarsal neuroma. It occurs most commonly between the 3rd and 4th metatarsals. The nerve sheath can become thickened and irritated over time if there are problems with your foot mechanics or type of footwear, such as tight-fitting shoes or high heels. This leads to the development of scar tissue, pain and often a burning sensation, pins and needles or numbness in the area. There are also fluid-filled sacs called bursa around the metatarsals and nerves which can get inflamed and can contribute to the pain. Physiotherapy treatment may include education and advice around load management, footwear and home therapies that will speed the recovery process. Other treatments may include acupuncture, strengthening exercises, strapping and manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilisation and massage. Corticosteroid injections can sometimes be useful if other treatments fail, and our physiotherapists can refer you to a physician for advice on this if required.

Hallux valgus (bunion)

Hallux valgus is the medical term for what many people call a bunion. It is a common deformity affecting the big toe, where a bulge appears to develop on the inside of the foot at the base of the big toe. Bunions tend to develop over time and can be caused by a variety of factors such as footwear (most commonly high heels and shoes without much space for the toes), previous foot injury, family history and weakness of the foot muscles. It can often lead to pain around the base of the big toe that can limit your activity level. Physiotherapy treatment may include education and advice around load management, footwear and home therapies that will decrease pain levels. Other treatments may include acupuncture, foot and lower limb strengthening exercises, and manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilisation and massage. We can also refer you to an orthopaedic specialist for further assessment if we deem this necessary. Occasionally surgery is required to correct the alignment of the big toe, and in this instance physiotherapy is helpful in both the pre-operative and post-operative stages.

Cuboid syndrome

This is pain on the lateral side of your midfoot that involves the cuboid bone, which is a small bone that connects to the heel bone (calcaneus) by soft tissue structures such as ligaments and the joint capsule. It is an area that takes a lot of load in walking and running, and can be susceptible to injury if your foot mechanics become altered due to factors such as poor muscle balance and poor footwear. The cuboid bone can get very stiff or ‘locked’ in a certain position which can cause sharp or achy pain on the outside of your foot. As it is a mechanical problem with the midfoot, physiotherapy can be very effective in reducing pain and returning you to normal function. Treatment can include joint mobilisation, massage, strengthening and stretching exercises for your foot and lower limb, and taping.

Some of the less common foot problems that we see at the clinic include sesamoid injuries, lisfranc joint injuries, metatarsal stress fractures and navicular stress fractures.

Foot pain is very common and can affect all ages. It can be the result of injury to the ligaments, tendons, nerves or bones of the foot, but can also be referred from other areas of your body, mainly the lower back. Our physiotherapists are trained to assess your condition thoroughly to determine the cause of your pain to enable an effective treatment plan to be made. Listed below are some of the more common foot problems we see at the clinic.

Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)

The plantar fascia is a common source of heel pain in adults. It is a thick layer of connective tissue under the sole of the foot, running between the calcaneus (heel bone) and the toes. It provides the foot with stability and makes up the arch of the foot. Plantar fascia pain, often known as plantar fasciitis can be caused by a traumatic event (such as landing heavily on a sharp stone), or it can come on insidiously over a period of time due to a variety of factors. These may include a combination of the following: poor foot mechanics, poor footwear choices, being overweight or pregnant, high activity levels and flattened or very high foot arches. It is more likely to develop in middle to older age. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain under your heel near the arch of your foot that is usually worse first thing in the morning or after periods of rest, and can sometimes improve as you exercise. Your physiotherapist can assess what factors may be contributing to your pain, and make a plan for your recovery. Treatment can include joint mobilisation, massage, stretching, foot strengthening exercises, strapping/taping, acupuncture and strengthening exercises for the lower limb. If we think that your footwear may be contributing to your pain, we can refer you to a podiatrist for further assessment.

Morton’s neuroma

This is a problem affecting the sheath of one of the nerves between the metatarsal bones, which are located in your forefoot near your toes. It is also known as intermetatarsal neuroma. It occurs most commonly between the 3rd and 4th metatarsals. The nerve sheath can become thickened and irritated over time if there are problems with your foot mechanics or type of footwear, such as tight-fitting shoes or high heels. This leads to the development of scar tissue, pain and often a burning sensation, pins and needles or numbness in the area. There are also fluid-filled sacs called bursa around the metatarsals and nerves which can get inflamed and can contribute to the pain. Physiotherapy treatment may include education and advice around load management, footwear and home therapies that will speed the recovery process. Other treatments may include acupuncture, strengthening exercises, strapping and manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilisation and massage. Corticosteroid injections can sometimes be useful if other treatments fail, and our physiotherapists can refer you to a physician for advice on this if required.

Hallux valgus (bunion)

Hallux valgus is the medical term for what many people call a bunion. It is a common deformity affecting the big toe, where a bulge appears to develop on the inside of the foot at the base of the big toe. Bunions tend to develop over time and can be caused by a variety of factors such as footwear (most commonly high heels and shoes without much space for the toes), previous foot injury, family history and weakness of the foot muscles. It can often lead to pain around the base of the big toe that can limit your activity level. Physiotherapy treatment may include education and advice around load management, footwear and home therapies that will decrease pain levels. Other treatments may include acupuncture, foot and lower limb strengthening exercises, and manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilisation and massage. We can also refer you to an orthopaedic specialist for further assessment if we deem this necessary. Occasionally surgery is required to correct the alignment of the big toe, and in this instance physiotherapy is helpful in both the pre-operative and post-operative stages.

Cuboid syndrome

This is pain on the lateral side of your midfoot that involves the cuboid bone, which is a small bone that connects to the heel bone (calcaneus) by soft tissue structures such as ligaments and the joint capsule. It is an area that takes a lot of load in walking and running, and can be susceptible to injury if your foot mechanics become altered due to factors such as poor muscle balance and poor footwear. The cuboid bone can get very stiff or ‘locked’ in a certain position which can cause sharp or achy pain on the outside of your foot. As it is a mechanical problem with the midfoot, physiotherapy can be very effective in reducing pain and returning you to normal function. Treatment can include joint mobilisation, massage, strengthening and stretching exercises for your foot and lower limb, and taping.

Some of the less common foot problems that we see at the clinic include sesamoid injuries, lisfranc joint injuries, metatarsal stress fractures and navicular stress fractures.