Foot and Ankle Pain should not be ignored

Foot and ankle pain is a common issue that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. While many people are tempted to ignore pain, addressing the problem as soon as possible is crucial. This blog will discuss why you should not ignore foot and ankle pain.

How many Americans suffer from foot and ankle problems? 

“From plantar fasciitis to heel spurs, nearly 77% of those surveyed had or are dealing with foot problems and disorders.”— 

Many of us have experienced foot and ankle pain. Our first thought is to ignore the pain. It started a slight twinge, and we quickly convinced ourselves that the pain would be gone when we woke up tomorrow.

woman rubbing painful foot and ankle

But foot and ankle pain is often a sign of a severe condition. A condition that is on the edge of impacting our daily life. Here are the reasons why you should not ignore the pain:

  • Foot pain can impact your daily life.
    Foot and ankle pain can significantly impact your ability to carry out your daily activities. If your job requires you to stand or walk for long periods, foot and ankle pain can make it challenging to complete your work. Similarly, if you enjoy sports or exercise, foot and ankle pain can prevent you from participating in these activities.

  • The pain can be a sign of a serious condition.
    In some cases, ankle and foot pain can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. For example, pain in the ankle can be a sign of arthritis, gout, or a fracture. Pain in the foot can be a sign of plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, or a stress fracture. Ignoring foot and ankle pain can lead to further damage and complications.

  • Ignoring pain can lead to other issues.
    Ignoring foot and ankle pain can lead to other issues, such as balance problems, falls, and chronic pain. When you are in pain, you may alter the way you walk or stand, which can lead to other issues. For example, if you favor one foot over the other, you may develop muscle imbalances, leading to further pain and complications.

The Pain is a Warning Sign

  • The pain is a health warning sign.

  • Pain can be a warning sign that something is wrong. Ignoring the ache, burning or sharp shooting pain can lead to further complications and may make the underlying issue more challenging to treat. If you are experiencing pain, listening to your body and seeking medical attention is essential.

  • Chronic Pain can impact your mental health.
    Chronic pain can have a significant impact on your mental health. If you are experiencing chronic pain, you may feel frustrated, anxious, and depressed. You can improve your mental health and overall well-being by seeking treatment for your pain.

    • “People living with chronic pain are at heightened risk for mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Chronic pain can affect sleep, increase stress levels and contribute to depression. An estimated 35% to 45% of people with chronic pain experience depression.”—

  • Foot and ankle pain can be a symptom of a systemic issue.
    In some cases, foot and ankle pain can be a symptom of a systemic issue such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease. If you are experiencing other symptoms such as numbness or tingling, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is essential.

Ankle and Foot Injuries Can Be Prevented or Treated

  • Foot and ankle distress can be treated.
    Many people believe that foot and ankle pain is a normal part of life and that nothing will alleviate the pain. However, this is not true. Various treatment options are available including physical therapy, medication, and surgery. You can alleviate your pain and improve your quality of life by seeking treatment.

  • If you act, you can prevent or stop the pain.
    In some cases, foot and ankle soreness can be prevented. For example, wearing comfortable and supportive shoes can reduce your risk of developing foot and ankle pain. Stretching before and after exercise can also help prevent pain and injury.

Find Help at The Therapy Network

Lower body pain must not be ignored. It can impact your daily life, be a sign of a serious condition or systemic problem, and can affect your mental health. Foot pain can be treated and prevented; therefore, it is important to never ignore your pain. Addressing ambulatory pain as soon as possible can improve your quality of life and prevent further complications.

The Therapy Network has six locations throughout the Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake with appointments available today. In Virginia, you do not need a doctor's referral to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. After reviewing the eight reasons, you should not ignore foot and ankle pain, consider scheduling an appointment today.

Marathon Training - Part 4, Peak Phase

Time to run fast! Repetition and interval training! We discussed the BASE and BUILD phases of our running program utilizing endurance periodization. Next, let’s talk about is PEAK phase. Here, we increase the intensity of running, defined by adding interval or repetition training. Hill training can fall into either category. With an increased workload, adding rest breaks to the run is essential. This peak phase of running should finish one to three weeks before the race. Peak training is completed at an above-threshold rate. The heart rate variability (HRV) should be between 90-99% (ZONE 4-5) or “hard!”. PEAK training improves speed and maximizes aerobic power and running economy. Aerobic capacity is defined as how much blood (carrying oxygen) can be delivered to the muscles and how well that oxygen can be converted into energy. Otherwise known as VO2 Max.

We can reach our goals in the peak phase by incorporating interval and repetition training.

Interval runs: intervals should be HARD running for 1-5 minutes (max of 5 minutes), and the speed should be about the max speed you could race at for 10-12 minutes. If you’re more comfortable picking a distance versus time, start with 800 meters and progress to 1200 meters. Rest in between and repeat. Rests should be no longer than the time you spent running. Interval training targets aerobic power.

Repetition training: short duration than intervals (never more than 2 minutes) at even higher speeds. The speed should be comparable to your current max one-mile time. The rest should be longer – about two to three times the time spent running. Again, if you’d rather distance versus time, start with 200 meters and progress to 400 meters. Elite runners can progress to 600 or 800 meters. Repetition training targets improving the speed and economy of running. Typically, interval training is perceived as “harder” than repetition training. Look for my next post to discuss what tapering for races looks like and the goal of rests.

Marathon Training, Part 2

The miles are building! In a good marathon training plan, there should be four focus items for endurance running – we call this Endurance Periodization. Each period has a specific goal and targets a different need for long-term running success. The four periods are BASE, BUILD, PEAK, and TAPER. I built my training plan based on these periods, and my next several blog posts will discuss them and their purpose.

The BASE period in marathon training is where the emphasis is on increasing your volume of running and building anaerobic capacity. This should be your marathon training plan's first several weeks to months based on the goal distance. Most of the running of this phase (about 80% of total mileage) is "easy running" or zone 2 if using heart rate variability.

10% of the mileage is done at the threshold "tempo pace" or zone 3, and the final 10% is done above the threshold "sprint pace" or zone 4. So what is easy running? This run can maintain a zone 2 heart rate and is considered a conversational pace. Breathing should be relatively normal. This type of running strengthens the heart muscle tremendously. It improves the heart's stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped with one beat or contraction of the heart). It allows for improvement without overstressing the system. Easy running also improves muscle fibers. They are shown to have an increase in number and size. The mitochondria (power powerhouse of the cell) move to the periphery of the cell, which is closer to the oxygen supply that comes into the cell. This helps the body exchange fuel for energy and complete oxygen exchange more effectively. These changes in our cardiovascular system and muscle fibers occur with time spent running in this space. Not speed.

We must remember that success with marathon training occurs with consistency - not speed or pace. As my mileage increases, I am cautious about monitoring my heart rate and how I feel. Items such as stress, sleep deprivation, water intake, and dietary changes all impact our heart rate variability and rate of perceived exertion. Now that you are familiar with heart rate variability attempt to monitor your "easy long runs" maintaining zone 2 measures. Check in for the next marathon training post to discuss threshold and above-threshold training changes.

If you missed my first post on max heart rate and tracking exertion.

What’s your running persona?  Are you participating in a Couch to 5K program, training for 10K fun race or are you a regular marathon participant?  Or perhaps you enjoy cross country trail running.  Regardless, physical therapy should be a big part of your training.
 “In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” — Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

And here are some additional inspirations running quotes

Physical therapy for runners is a special and specific practice.  At The Therapy Network, our therapy specialists offer a full range of therapy options.

Running Facts for Everyone

Running can be part of a healthy lifestyle.  If you are considering participating and starting a running program, there are many smartphone apps, programs and local groups to support your start.  If you are a seasoned runner, you already know many of the benefits.  Here are a few benefits worth reviewing:

  1. Running cuts your risk of heart disease and possibly cancer.

  2. Do you want to burn up to 100 calories per mile?

  3. Running strengthens joints and bones

  4. Relieve stress with running

  5. When running outdoors, you get a healthy dose of fresh air

  6. The cost to start running for exercise and health is minimal compared to other sports.

  7. Running is part of a healthy lifestyle plan when you follow safe running guidance.

Why You Should Make Physical Therapy Part of Your Plan

With all the positive attributes of running, you may be wondering why you should include “physical therapy for runners” in your plan.  With any sport or physical activity, you must ensure that you are following the guidance to prevent injury.

If you are embarking on a running program, or if you are an experienced runner, it is time to consider booking an appointment with a running therapy specialist.

Over 60% of avid runners experience an injury each year.  That’s an injury for every 100 hours of running.  Many of the injuries can be remedied with a few days of rest, but some will need medical attention.  One way to avoid injury while enjoying running is to meet with a running therapy specialist.

Do You Have the Proper Running Gait and Shoes?

A top way to ensure that you run injury-free is to review your running gait and the fit of your shoes with arunner tying shoes specialist.  This tip is for those that are starting a couch to 5K training program and for anyone embracing running.  Even if you have been running for years, it is not too late to evaluate your gate and your favorite shoe choice.

Many running injuries are from overuse and are prevented in the future by following the guidance of a sports physical therapist.  At The Therapy Network, we offer tools for both novice and experienced runners to include:

  1. Video Analysis: A video gate analysis seeks to identify the root of an injury or a bad habit that may lead to a future injury. At TTN, we can correct any form or gait issues before they lead to an over-use injury.

  2. Running Shoes and Orthotics: A Therapy Network specialist can advise you on the best running shoe to fit your needs and if orthotics are needed. The Therapy Network is a resource for custom orthotics in Tidewater, Virginia.

Injury Recovery with Physical Therapy

If you are a runner that has experienced a recent injury or if you are prone to over-use injuries, it is time to schedule an appointment with a specialist.  You may find that a slight modification to your running plan will solve many issues.

  1. Sports Therapy Taping: Would you benefit from Kinesiology Taping? After an evaluation by a Therapy Network specialist, they may recommend taping as a training solution. Taping reduces pain while also improving performance.

  2. Shin Splints and Foot or Ankle Conditions: If you are a runner diagnosed with shin splits or a foot and ankle condition, a sports physical therapist at The Therapy Network will create a custom recovery plan.

If you have been trying to self-treat a running injury, it is time to see a specialist.  Not only can a  running therapy specialist shorten your down-time, but they can also provide injury prevention education.  Education is the key to running injury free.  Yes, you can download a running app to your smartphone, but a one-on-one review with a specialist will ensure a positive running experience and future.

You Do Not Need a Physician’s Referral in Virginia

Raise your hand if you would like to receive guidance from a running specialist but are dreading the physician’s referral process!  Well, the good news is that you do not need a physicians’ referral to visit The Therapy Network in Virginia.

If you just started a running program or if you are training for a marathon, you can see a therapist specialist this week.

Life in coastal Virginia affords us mild temperatures, even in the winter months.  Our communities offer many places to run, including park trails.  Don’t delay in scheduling an appointment for a review with a specialist.  A TTN team member can provide education and keep you running throughout the year.

Appointments Available in Coastal Virginia

If you live or work in Norfolk, Virginia Beach or Chesapeake, Virginia, there is a Therapy Network near your neighborhood or office.  With six locations in Tidewater, Virginia, there is TTN near you now.  We also have appointments available this week with a running therapy specialist.

When thinking of physical therapy for runners, think of The Therapy Network.