Most people walk an average of just under 6,000 steps in a single day. If we think about how many things we come into contact with each day that could stand that level of abuse, the list would be very short. It’s estimated that for optimum health, 10,000 steps each and every day is appropriate, and that is just under double what most people do regularly.
How do the feet and ankles deal with this kind of abuse each and every day, all day long? Well, their purpose is to bear weight and aid in movement, and they are built with those purposes in mind. Unfortunately, they are still made of the same bones and soft tissue that are found throughout the body. Given their frequency of use, feet and ankles tend to be prime locations for a soft tissue injury to occur in just about everyone, not just regular athletes.
But, there is some confusion about foot injuries in general, and that may be because a vast majority of injuries that affect the foot feel about the same to the injured person. Therefore, it can be very hard to determine specifically what type of injury has occurred and in turn, how to treat it. Evaluation with a sports physiotherapy expert or physician is obviously ideal, but since many people brush off a soft tissue injury located in the foot as a mild nuisance, some underlying problems may go undiagnosed entirely. To help clear up some of the confusion about various types of soft tissue injury affecting the foot as well as recovery and treatment options, we’ve put together a collection of myths and their facts to consider.
MYTH: Only Athletes Encounter Overuse Injuries.
FACT: While it’s true that athletes are the most likely people to encounter a soft tissue injury related to repeated or excessive use, non-athletes are certainly not immune. Certain occupations that involve long periods of standing or sitting can increase risk, and so can not wearing the proper type of footwear.
MYTH: Nobody Is More Susceptible to Injury than Others.
FACT: Foot structure can and sometimes does dictate injury risk: Feet are certainly not the biggest parts of our bodies, but there are a great many pieces parts that are found inside including bones, muscles, tendons and more. Each individual foot is built in its own way, but generally speaking most people have either high arches, low arches or flat feet. Each type of foot increases the risk for specific types of injuries. For example, those with high arches may be more likely to encounter a common type of soft tissue injury known as lateral shin splints, while those with the opposite problem may be more likely to encounter medial shin splints.
MYTH: Movement Is the Best Treatment for Foot Injuries.
FACT: Initially, immobilization is important. Stiffness can take hold if immobility is prolonged, but immediately following a soft tissue injury in the foot or ankle, resting and restricting movement are both important. This is because immediate movement may further compound damage, and resting also gives inflammation a period of time to resolve on it’s own. Although not normally associated with traditional pain management techniques, depending on the underlying cause of the problem, a period of rest can substantially reduce pain and discomfort.
MYTH: Ice Only Helps Numb and Relieve Pain.
FACT: Sometimes, ice can help heal, too. Most people think of ice as a temporary form of natural pain relief that only helps reduce painful sensations for a short period of time by numbing nerve endings that cause pain. However, listeners to a recent Tony Robbins podcast on the Tim Ferris show received a thorough explanation about the purported benefits of whole body cryotherapy, a technology that amplifies the power of the ice pack and ice bath through the use of an entire body chamber that circulates supercooled nitrogen gases to provide greater benefit in a short period of time with less discomfort. Robbins explained in the podcast that in addition to providing natural pain relief and feelings of energy and well being, Whole Body Cryotherapy is used regularly to reduce inflammation. Since inflammation is an underlying cause of much of the discomfort associated with a soft tissue injury, this alternative type of treatment could prove very useful in a wide range of sports injuries related to the feet and ankles. Instead of just treating the symptoms, cryotherapy Toronto clinics such as the Cryotherapy Health and Wellness Inc. center, may provide more than just symptom relief if inflammation benefits are evident.
MYTH: The Toes Are Not Commonly Injured.
FACT: The toes sustain a tremendous amount of damage and aside from just broken toes as a result of sudden injury or trauma, the five little piggies on each foot encounter daily abuses that can lead to painful injury from overuse or activity. For instance, bleeding under the nails may occur from repeated jamming into ill fitting shoes, and ingrown nails can occur as a result as well. Inflammation and swelling from pressure and use can also cause pain and discomfort, and a soft tissue injury to the toe of this nature can be incredibly painful although not normally serious in nature.