I believe foot pain is largely optional!
This may seem like an unusual and unfair statement to make, particularly as I spend my days counselling and treating patients who are suffering from foot pain so let me explain. Foot pain can be very severe and debilitating and it can be experienced by people of all ages. However, in the vast majority of cases, foot pain can be eliminated or eased. The primary reason people live with foot pain is because they delay treatment, either because they mistakenly believe the pain is something they have to put up with or because they don’t know where to go for help.
I recently had an unusual and challenging case which reinforces my belief that foot pain is optional. Concerned parents brought their very shy two-year-old into my clinic because she was complaining about severe heel pain. Pain like this is not common in young children and the doctor who referred her to me thought the pain would go away if it was ignored. Fortunately, her parents disagreed and they persisted in finding a solution for their young daughter.
I immediately saw the problem was plantar fasciitis. The little girl was very tight in the bottom of her heel and sore around the side of the heel. As the patient was so young, ultrasound and anti-inflammatories were not recommended so I began by giving her parents some stretching and icing exercises and I consulted an athletic therapist. I also made custom foot orthotics. When I manufactured the initial orthotics I did not fill in the arch as I was advised it may impair the changes that need to happen in her leg as she grew up. However, in subsequent visits the young patient was still experiencing some pain so I filled in the arch and added a plantar notch (a feature that helps reduce the pain of severe plantar fasciitis). Today, with the help of her orthotics, the little girl is back running and playing like a normal, active two-year-old.
If you are suffering from foot pain, don’t just put up with it or try to ignore it. Ask your family physician for a referral to a Canadian Certified Pedorthist. As one of very few health care professionals trained in the assessment of lower limb anatomy and biomechanics, Canadian Certified Pedorthists are highly skilled in easing foot and lower limb pain and improving mobility. We are a hands on profession. We design, fit and modify custom-made orthotics and orthopaedic footwear to ease lower limb pain. Pedorthic treatment can be the difference between participating in your normal activities and sitting out.
By Jim Pattison, C. Ped (C), Prince Albert, SK