Why Does my foot hurt how to prevent and treat foot arch pain

Why Does My Foot Hurt? How to Prevent and Treat Foot Arch Pain in Runners (8 Exercises Include)

Why does the bottom of my foot hurt when I walk? Or, do you feel a pulling sensation in your foot when you walk, run or jump? Foot arch pain is common for individuals that are on their feet constantly, especially runners. Long-distance running can cause the tendon in your arch to become hyperactive causing a strain under the foot. This can be treated conservatively at home or at a physical therapy clinic.

What causes my foot to hurt?

There are many reasons why you feel the pain under your foot, such as: Plantar fasciitis, flatfoot, tendonitis, stress fractures, and arthritis. Typically for runners the pain is caused by plantar fasciitis, a form of tendonitis that is felt when your foot is in a plantar flexion (when your foot is pointed). Let’s discuss how you can prevent and treat this issue!

What are the treatment and prevention strategies?

Pain in the arch of the foot is treated conservatively. For example, a few common treatments are icing the foot, over-the-counter medication, orthotics, and stretches/exercises to strengthen the tendon. If that does not work, the next step would be to schedule an appointment with your physical therapist for an evaluation and they will create an individualized exercise program for you to complete.

Exercises to Try!

1. Foam Roll Calves & hamstrings

2. Lax Ball roll arch

3. SL Balance Marbles

4. ECC heel raises

5. Bridge

6. Clamshells

7. Sidelying ABD

8. Side stepping

Foot hurt in arch pain is very common in runners and can be treated at home or at your nearest physical therapy clinic. The treatment is done conservatively, and can be prevented with the correct exercises and stretches. If the pain increases, be sure to contact a medical professional for more information.

Are you looking to improve your running form and technique? Our “At Home Running Mechanics Guide” can help! With expert advice and targeted exercises, you’ll learn how to optimize your running mechanics and get the most out of your workouts.

Don’t let bad form hold you back – download our free guide today and start seeing results. Click here to download now!

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Lower Back Pain in Tennis Players

Lower Back Pain in Tennis Players

Can tennis cause lower back pain? Athletes push themselves to the limit to achieve great performance. This can cause issues for their bodies though, specifically lower back pain in tennis players. One of the main causes is the way tennis players serve the ball. The rotation, flexion, and extension of the back while serving puts tension in the back, and the quickness of the movement adds to it as well.

Some other causes of lower back pain in tennis players include poor posture, shortening or weakening of muscles, overuse, instability, and joint weakness in the lower back. Sedentary lifestyles can also worsen the issue, as well as extended running.

Some of the symptoms typically associated with lower back pain include but is not limited to:

  • Sudden, sharp, persistent, or dull pain in the lower back (sometimes on one side only)
  • Shooting pain to the hips, buttocks, or back of the thigh
  • Muscle spasms
  • If the pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, please reach out to your doctor or physical therapist; symptoms include shooting pain in the leg extending as far as the foot, a tingling sensation, numbness, or loss of strength

Treatment incorporates three phases to get back to sport by improving strength and flexibility.

  • Step 1. Improvement of normal function in terms of mobility and stability
  • Step 2. Build-up strong abdominal and back muscles
  • Step 3. Return to play, but be sure to practice your footwork (taking small steps, always getting into the right position to hit the ball)

Prevention is essential to athletes, let’s take a look at some of the preventative measures.

  • Warm up and cool down at least 10 minutes
  • Adequate abdominal corset by doing abdominal and back exercises at least twice a week.
  • Build up training step by step (progressive overload)
  • Have the right tennis shoe and pay attention to shock absorption, lateral stability, feeling for the surface (good traction) and optimal comfort.

Source: https://www.itftennis.com/media/2290/injury-lower-back-pain.pdf

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Exercises to Improve Ankle Mobility and Stability

10 Exercises to Improve Ankle Mobility and Stability

How long does it take to improve ankle mobility? What are these ankle mobility exercises physical therapy?

How common is ankle pain?

Ankle pain is very common. It’s especially for individuals that fall under one or more of the following categories:

  • Are over the age of 65.
  • Are overweight/obese.
  • Participate in sports or activities that involve jumping, lateral movements, or agility.

How can I prevent ankle pain?

  • Warm up properly to ensure muscles and soft tissues are warm and flexible to prevent injury and restore range of motion.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce excess pressure on joints
  • Strengthen other muscles to support ankle mobility and reduce your risk of injury.
  • Stop if you feel pain and see a healthcare provider if pain continues as an injury can occur or worsen.

Ankle Mobility Exercises

1. CKC Dorsiflexion with Strap

2. Single Leg Balance

3. Heel Raises (Straight Leg)

4. Heel Raises (Bent Leg)

5. Toe/Heel Walks

6. Ankle Inversion Banded

7. Ankle Eversion Banded

8. Plantar flexion Banded

9. Dorsiflexion Banded

10. Ankle Pumps

Source: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/15295-ankle-pain

Don’t let ankle pain hold you back any longer! Schedule a phone consultation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy today, and take the first step towards healing. Don’t wait, seek help and support now to manage your injury.

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7 Tips To Recover From Knee Replacement Surgery Fast

7 Tips To Recover From Knee Replacement Surgery Fast

Tips to Recover – I guess you are questioning now on what is the fastest way to recover from knee surgery? If you’re waiting for surgery after a serious knee injury, and searching for the best ways to recover from knee replacement surgery…

Or you’ve already had knee surgery and you’re finding it much more painful, and you’re desperate for a faster recovery so you can get back to normal fast, this blog is for you!

7 Tips To Recover From Knee Replacement Surgery

After total or partial knee replacement surgery, it can be incredibly difficult to recover with the pain, stiffness and tiredness.

In our experience of treating hundreds of patients before, and after their knee surgery, there are some proven ways that can speed up recovery.

With the right support, you can get back to walks, enjoying exercise and being able to move pain-free.

(1) Move Little and Often, Every Hour

How long does it take to walk normally after knee replacement? After your doctor has cleared you to move your knee and walk, it is important to keep active and we would recommend moving every hour, even if it’s just to get a drink, or go to the bathroom.

Keeping active reduces your risk of blood clots and other complications.

It also improves circulation to your knee which allows you to heal quicker.

Starting to walk is often possible whilst you are still in the hospital, so this is something that you should be able to do quite soon after knee surgery.

(2) Get Great Sleep and Rest

Total or partial knee replacement surgery takes a significant toll on your body.

This is going to leave you feeling very tired, and whilst it’s important to keep moving, it’s also important to make sure you get enough sleep.

Getting great sleep is going to play an important role in achieving the quickest recovery time.

So, aim to get 8+ hours sleep, if not more.

When you are resting (but not asleep), keeping your leg elevated and apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel for 20 minutes to reduce any swelling.

(3) Avoid Putting Pressure Or Kneeling On Your Knee

Your knee is going to be very sore and swollen after surgery, so minimising the pressure against it can create a lot of pain. It’s also likely to make the swelling much worse which will slow down your recovery.

Shortly after your knee surgery, reducing swelling is a priority as this will increase the amount you can straighten and bend your knee.

(4) Use Equipment Given To You

You will be given walking aids by the hospital to help you safely move around your home and reduce your risk of falling.

In the long term, the goal is to stop using these walking aids entirely and you may think it’s a good idea to ditch the walking aids straight away.

However, in the short term, it’s safer to use the walking aids until you have regained enough strength, and mobility in your knee.

(5) Follow Your Exercise Plan (Tips to Recover)

For the fastest recovery from knee replacement surgery, an exercise program that is tailored to you, and includes progressions as you leave behind the walking aids and can handle more challenging exercise.

Our patients all receive personalised exercises and those that build these into their daily habits get the most impressive recoveries.

We often work with people who’ve had surgery and tried to recover without the proper support – nearly all cases are made worse through doing the wrong exercises, or not doing them often enough.

Whilst we can’t prescribe specific exercises for you in this blog and your worried about a long and painful recovery, feel free to reach out to us in the clinic.

To speak to a member of our team and find out how we can help recover faster from your knee replacement surgery, arrange a free discovery visit which is great if you are unsure whether private physio is right for you.

Arrange Your Free Discovery Visit or call us on (773) 609-1847

(6) Avoid High Impact Activities Or Activities With A High Risk Of Twisting Your Knee Or Falling

As you approach a full recovery and you’re considering returning to your usual hobbies, sports and workouts, make sure to be cautious if these involve any high impact on your body.

High impact activities such as running, or jumping can demand a lot from your knee, and also have a very high risk level.

Also, be wary of activities that have a risk of falling or twisting your knee such as certain sports where change of direction is common.

We appreciate that if you had an active life pre-surgery, you want to return to this as soon as you can, but in the short term, choosing low impact activities like cycling and swimming is a smart option.

(7) Speed Up Recovery Post Surgery With Physical Therapy

If you have had your knee replacement surgery, and struggling to move freely, still experiencing pain, and still not able to do what you wanted to do, then reach out to our expert team.

We have worked with patients who were disappointed with the results after surgery and came to us looking for more support.

At PREP Performance Center, we are able to provide a variety of services and tips to recover which will not just get you to a minimum quality of life but will enable you to get back to long walks with your partner, exercise classes with your friends, and being able to play with the children and grandchildren.

To find more, we offer Free Discovery Visit, where you can speak to a member of our team, ask any questions that you have, and find out what’s stopping you from getting the life you thought you were going to have post-surgery.

Arrange Your Free Discovery Visit or call us on (773) 609-1847

Tips to Recover and How To Prepare For Knee Replacement Surgery

If you are waiting for your knee replacement surgery, you can arrange a Pre-Surgery Analysis which will enable you to identify how best to prepare for knee surgery – patients who come for treatment before their surgery experience much faster recovery with less stiffness, pain and complications.

Arrange your Pre-Surgery Analysis by completing our simple webform or call us on (773) 609-1847

Other Free Resources To Help Your Knee Pain

Follow Us On Social Media – Prep Performance Center Facebook, Prep Performance Center Twitter and Prep Performance Center YouTube


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Low Back Pain in the Gymnast - visit at PREP Performance Center in Chicago, Illinois

Low Back Pain in the Gymnast

Gymnastics is an extremely intense sport both emotionally and physically. The physical demands of this sport unfortunately leave gymnasts susceptible to almost any injury under the sun. Low back [lumbar] pain, specifically, is one of the many ailments common amongst gymnasts due to the sport’s repetitive nature. There are a number of diagnoses that may explain this low back pain experienced by so many gymnasts, but one of the most common diagnoses that may be relieved by physical therapy is Spondylosis or even Spondylothesis.

Diagnosis in Low Back Pain:

  • Spondylosis is the degeneration of the spine due to overuse
  • This unilateral or bilateral overuse involves the pars interarticularis of the posterior vertebral arch. This pars interarticularis defect, also referred to as a stress fracture, consists of fibrous tissue. 85-95% of defects occur in the lower lumbar region at L5, with L4 being the next most common vertebra. 
  • Lumbar instability may progress to spondylosis or even spondylothesis
  • Spondylolisthesis is a progression of spondylolysis leading to forward displacement of one vertebral body in relation to the one below it, usually secondary to a bilateral pars defect. This displacement is progressive, especially during rapid growth spurts of early adolescence. It is most common at L5-S1. 

Common Symptoms of Low Back Pain:

  • Gradual onset of pain, progressively worsens 
  • Pain is a dull ache and worsens with activity
  • Occasional sharp pain with certain activities or changing positions 
  • Pain with prolonged positions such as sitting or standing
  • Pain restricts activities of daily living or sports performance 
  • May feel unstable or have a catching pain through motions not at end range
  • Rest usually relieves symptoms 
  • Possible history of local trauma or a previous injury, but usually not from a specific incident

How Spondylosis occurs:

  • Spondylosis occurs over time with a higher incidence in the young athletic population (gymnasts, football players, divers, wrestlers, weight lifters)
  • It is commonly from excessive or repeated hyperextension activities which are extremely common in gymnastics, along with generalized laxity and lumbar hypermobility
  • Weak core stabilizers, especially the transverse abdominis can also contribute to back pain. If the core is not stabilized with movement, the spine becomes the victim of excess motion and increased loading. 

Differential Diagnoses:

  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Sprain/ Strain Injuries 
  • Disc Pathology
  • Facet Joint Pathology
  • SIJ Dysfunction
  • Stress Fracture 

Pertinent Tests/Diagnostic Imaging:

  • Referral to MD for further imaging and evaluation 
  • Spondylolysis defect is known as the “Scottie Dog” appearance on X-rays 
  • If it has progressed to Spondylolisthesis, the severity will be graded on a I-IV scale depending on the amount of forward displacement of the vertebra 
  • Clinical Tests in PT
  • + Prone Instability Test
  • + Gower Sign
  • + Reverse Spinal Rhythm deficits 
  • Clinical Prediction Rule for Stabilization Protocol: aberrant motion
  • Observation, excessive flexibility in a straight leg raise (hamstring flexibility), 
  • + Prone Instability Test

Risk Factors of Low back pain:

  • History of low back pain 
  • History of traumatic hyperextension 
  • Generalized hypermobility or diagnosis of a hypermobility disorder such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome 

When To Seek Medical Attention: 

  • Persistent pain that does not improve with rest over time 
  • Palpable step off along the back (if the vertebra has slipped forward, an indent may be felt along the lower spine)
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in the lower extremities (if the vertebra has slipped forward, it may be pressing on a nerve root and could cause sensation deficits) 

Principles of Treatment:

  • Course of anti-inflammatory medication may assist with pain relief and inflammation
  • Osseous healing is not absolutely necessary for excellent clinical outcome
  • Limit any activities that increase pain- modify practice/ training program, extension typically avoided 
  • Find rest and relief postures when sustaining positions that increase pain 
  • Spinal brace may be necessary if imaging suggests Spondylolisthesis
          – Prevent motion at that spinal segment to allow the bone to heal 
          – Possible 3 months in brace with no PT, followed by PT with progressive return to sport
  • Focus PT on gluteus and core strengthening 
          – Strengthening, stabilization, and motor control is usually the focus of treatment
  • Safe extension activities- limit hyperextension in practice 
  • Safe return to gymnastics and proper loading patterns
          – Movement analysis to address contributing factors 
          – Address movement deficits to prevent this from reoccurring 

  • Maintenance of strong supportive trunk muscles is very important, as well as sport specific training with a neutral spine, postural education, and sensorimotor control
  • Do not progress to new levels of rehab unless there is successful completion of the previous level without provocation of pain and normalized active range of motion
  • It is also very important to address any psychosocial components that could be contributing to the gymnast’s pain. Young gymnasts often train at a high intensity from a very young age and are under a lot of pressure from coaches and teammates 

Goals of Treatment to Low Back pain:

  • Decrease pain
  • Normalize tissue palpation and length 
  • Improve strength of individual muscles as well as overall functional strength
  • Postural education and correction 
  • Improve dynamic stabilization 

Return to Sport:

  • Total rehabilitation time for return to sport is between 2-6 months 
  • Phase 1: Rest and Protect 
  • Phase 2: Static Stabilization 
  • Phase 3: Dynamic Trunk Stabilization and Coordination 
  • Phase 4: Athletic Enhancement and Gradual Return
  • Phase 5: Independent Exercise Program and Re-Injury Prevention Program 
  • Return to gymnastics requires:
          – Pain free ROM
          – Improved functional strength 
          – Proper spinal awareness and body mechanics 
          – Technique refinement to ensure proper body mechanics when performing skills repetitively or when fatigued 

PT Role and How to Prevent Spondylosis:

  • Improve core and lumbar stabilization 
  • Postural education 
  • Education on training modifications 
  • Education on proper technique and body mechanics 
  • Screen for psychosocial risk factors

– Cavalier, R., M. J. Herman, E. V. Cheung and P. D. Pizzutillo (2006). “Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis in children and adolescents”
Dankaerts, W., & O’Sullivan, P. (2011). The validity of O’Sullivan’s classification system (CS) for a sub-group of NS-CLBP with motor control impairment (MCI): overview of a series of studies and review of the literature. Manual therapy, 16(1), 9–14. doi:10.1016/j.math.2010.10.006
– Jackson DW, Wiltse LL, Cirincoine RJ. Spondylolysis in the female gymnast. Clinical orthopaedics and related research. 1976(117):68-73.
Hoffman, S. L., Johnson, M. B., Zou, D., Harris-Hayes, M., & Van Dillen, L. R. (2011). Effect of classification-specific treatment on lumbopelvic motion during hip rotation in people with low back pain. Manual therapy, 16(4), 344–350. doi:10.1016/j.math.2010.12.007
– McNeely, M. L., G. Torrance and D. J. Magee (2003). “A systematic review of physiotherapy for spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis.” Man Ther 8(2): 80-91.
– Newell, R. L. (1995). “Spondylolysis. An historical review.” Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 20(17): 1950-1956
– Winslow JJ, Jackson M, Getzin A, Costello M. Rehabilitation of a Young Athlete With Extension-Based Low Back Pain Addressing Motor-Control Impairments and Central Sensitization. Journal of athletic training. 2018;53(2):168-173.

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