Foot Pain: This blog provides general information about foot pain, and a few exercises you can do from home during lockdown.

How does the foot work?

The feet are made up of 26 bones and more than 33 joints arranged in columns and arches that vary in stiffness and flexibility.

The back of the foot is made up of the heel bone and the ankle. The joint that holds them together allows the foot to move from side to side. The heel is connected to the calf muscles in the lower leg by the Achilles tendon, which is the most important tendon for movement.

The middle of the foot is made up of five bones. These form the arch of the foot. These bones are connected to the front and back of the foot by muscles and the arch ligament (the plantar fascia). They act as a shock absorber when we’re walking or running.

The front of the foot is made up of the toe bones, which are connected to five long bones by joints. The joints in the toes don’t move very much.

What can cause foot pain?

There are many different causes of foot pain, but the following are two common conditions:

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation at the site where the fascia (a tough band of fibrous tissue) attaches under the heel bone. It’s the most common cause of discomfort around this area.

Plantar fasciitis frequently affects people with inflammatory arthritis but it can also occur in people without arthritis. Research has shown that plantar fasciitis is sometimes caused by the shortening of the Achilles tendon and that exercises to lengthen it may help.

Achilles tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle. It can occur as an over-use injury in people who take part in excessive exercise or exercise that they’re not used to, but it’s also quite common in people who have some types of arthritis.

Simple Exercises To Do From Home

Achilles tendon and plantar fascia stretch

Loop a towel around the ball of your foot and pull your toes towards your body, keeping your knee straight. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each foot.

Plantar fascia stretch

Sit down and rest the arch of your foot on a round object (e.g. a tin of beans). Roll the arch in all directions for a few minutes. Repeat this exercise at least twice daily.

Towel pickup

Sit down with a towel on the floor in front of you. Keeping your heel on the ground, pick up the towel by scrunching it between your toes. Repeat 10–20 times. As you improve, add a small weight such as a tin of beans to the towel.

Sitting plantar fascia stretch

Sit down and cross one foot over your other knee. Grab the base of your toes and pull them back towards your body until you feel a comfortable stretch. Hold for 15–20 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Wall push

  1. a)  Facing a wall, put both hands on the wall at shoulder height and place one foot in front of the other. The front foot should be approximately 30 cm
    (12 inches) from the wall. With the front knee bent and the back knee straight, bend the front knee towards the wall until the calf in your back leg feels tight. Relax and repeat 10 times.
  1. b)  Repeat a) but bring the back foot forward a little so that the back knee is slightly bent. Repeat the 10 times.

What To Do After Lockdown?

These treatments are, of course, designed to help alleviate pain. If, however, you find the pain to be persistent, we would strongly recommend booking an appointment at the Sussex Foot Centre. This can be done here. We will be able to work out a treatment strategy which works for you. If you have any questions relating to this, please email thomas@sussexfootcentre.co.uk.