What is the Cause of Foot Pain/Lower Leg Pain?

ease into standing

There is Not “ONE” Exact Cause

Foot pain/leg pain is not a “one-size-fits-all” kind of issue. There are many problems that can lead to foot pain/leg pain, and in order to diagnose the “sole-cause” we must first understand all of the potential issues. We are not all built the same, we don’t live the same kind of lifestyle, and therefore our pain can be caused from a bunch of different mechanisms.

We will be focusing on chronic pain (caused over a long period of time) as opposed to acute pain (traumatic/sudden onset). Therefore we will be mostly talking about plantar fasciitis and lower leg tendonitis/paratenonitis.

What Can Cause Lower Leg Pain/Foot Pain?

  • Over Pronation
    • foot rolls inwards, arch of the foot flattens – common
    • pronation of the foot is meant to act as a shock absorber
    • lower leg muscles are put on strain trying to re-supinate the foot (reposition it)what is the cause of foot pain
    • end up with tendonitis of the lower leg eventually after a period of time
  • Over Supination
    • foot rolls outwards – less common
    • supination is meant to add rigidity to the foot in order to provide a firm base to push off of when walking/running
    • can cause plantar fascia to be inflamed (main cause of plantar fasciitis)
    • can cause stress fractures and a whole lot of postural issues in the body (body tries to compensate – creates postural problems)
  • Change in FITT
    • increase in activity suddenly
    • have you recently changed from a sitting to a standing desk?
    • don’t provide enough time to ease into a new activity
    • increase in Frequency, Intensity, Time or Type of activity
  • Pes Planus (Flat Foot)
    • causes over pronationbottom foot pain causes
  • Pes Cavus (High Arch)
    • no shock absorbing ability
    • causes over supination
    • can cause stress fractures and a whole bunch of different problems in the body (back, knees, etc..)
    • main cause of plantar fasciitis – puts the plantar fascia on stretch and results in micro tears and eventually results in a lot of pain

 

What Can We Do To Avoid Chronic Lower Leg/Foot Pain?

avoid lower leg injuries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are not experiencing lower leg/foot pain, GREAT…

But we want to keep it that way, so here are some ways that we can go about living/maintaining a pain free life:

  • Invest in the Proper Shoes!
    • I can’t specify enough how important this truly is
    • in order to know what shoes you need, you need to know whether you have a flat foot, high arch, or neutral foot
  • Massaging the Foot/Lower Leg Muscles
    • everyday we put tension through our lower leg muscles (always stretching and contracting them)
    • our feet endure a lot throughout the day! – eventually parts start to break down and not work as well as they used too, just like a car – this will cause a build up of muscle adhesions/scar tissue/over-shortening of the muscles (remain contracted)
    • if you have muscle knots/adhesions you will notice some pain and discomfort and not be able to move as well as you used to
    • in order to fix the problem, we can apply a deep massage or myofascial release techniques to allow the muscle to move freely once again, and go back to its normal state
  • Paying Attention to Your Posture
    • our body structure vary between each individual, there are some things we cannot change
    • we can learn how to express proper posture (while standing and sitting) in order to enable further damaging to the body
    • for instance: distribute weight evenly between your feet, etc.
    • developing the proper way to move your body biomechanically – improving on our “form” of walking, running, standing, etc.
    • provide different taping techniques according to the structure of the foot
  • Stretch!

What Do We Do If We Are Already Experiencing it?

We first have to determine what stage of injury we are in; is it in the inflammatory phase, repair phase or remodelling phase? There are different modalities and ways of dealing with the injury pertaining to each phase. Also we have to take into consideration if we are dealing with a tendonitis injury or a tendonOSIS injury..

If it’s a tendonitis injury, it is going to appear to be: RED, HOT, and SWOLLEN and we have to treat it accordingly. But since we are mainly focusing on a chronic injury, we want to talk about how to deal with a tendonOSIS.

If it is a tendonOSIS, it ISN’T going to be red, hot or swollen… It is going to have:

  1. Hyper vascularity
  2. Increased number of poor quality blood vessels
  3. Collagen fibers are going to be lined up incorrectly (disarray)

Healing a tendonOSIS:

  • realign fibers by use of myofascial release or deep massage/foam rolling techniques
  • break up fibers that are incorrectly aligned
  • stretch the tendons

why do my feet hurt all the time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A tendonOSIS is basically a tendonITIS that hasn’t healed correctly. It is an OVERUSE injury and usually occurs in older adults.

Okay… So what do we do if we are experiencing foot pain, or plantar fasciitis?

We want to take similar precautions like we did with a lower leg tendonOSIS. The plantar fascia is constantly going through a stretch-contraction cycle and eventually it can become inflamed, irritated and damaged.

 Healing plantar fasciitis:

  • stretch the plantar region of the foot (prop up your toes against a wall)
  • place a lacrosse ball or beastie ball, or some type of myofascial release tool under your foot to release and break up adhesions in the fascia- this will also promote blood and lymph circulation in order to heal the foot
  • roll the bottom of the foot out with a frozen water bottle to reduce inflammation and pain
  • stretch and provide myofascial release to muscles that work in conjunction with the plantar fascia (muscles of the calf)relieve pain caused from plantar fasciitis

If You Have Recently Started to Notice Pain

  1. Have you recently changed your normal exercise routine? – Frequency? Intensity? Time? Type?
  2. Did you switch from a sitting desk to a standing desk?
  3. What shoes have you been wearing?
  4. Are you experiencing pain in the foot or lower leg?
  5. How much time do you spend standing?
  6. Do you have a flat foot or high arch?

Remember.. We have to be constantly checking up on the condition that our bodies are in! Just like we have to be constantly changing the oil and getting check-ups on our cars!

 

If You Have Any Questions, Feel Free to Comment Below!

2 Comments

  • Torrey

    Reply Reply February 28, 2016

    Hi Dzuvic

    I am wondering if you have any suggestions for knee pain? I love to run….. I run every morning at 5am like clock work. But my knees are starting to show the wear and they creak a lot. My dad had both of his knees replace when he was 58 years old, and I have this gut feeling I’ll need to do the same. Do you have any suggestions? Torrey

  • Dylan

    Reply Reply March 4, 2016

    Hey Torrey, thanks for the comment sorry it took so long to get back to you. First of all, I love running too but running does place a huge impact on your knee joints. I would suggest not running on any hard surfaces such as tarmac, pavement, etc. Also to lower the impact you might want to switch up the workout and maybe run one day and bike the next!

    If you have any more questions feel free to comment!

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