They bear weight, put in long hours, and carry you from one place to another! Yet they are often the most overlooked part of your body. People think about their feet only when they are sore. While sore feet are a common condition that can be managed with simple care at home, feet stiffness is more serious. Very often, it is a symptom of some underlying medical condition. Health problems such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and neuropathy can lead to feet stiffness. Moreover, aging and improper footwear are some of the other common causes of this condition.
However, feet stiffness is treatable. Let's look at four ways to reduce stiffness in feet.
RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation
One of the safest ways to reduce stiffness is RICE. If you experience an onset of feet stiffness, particularly after an injury, stop using your feet. It may be difficult, but it is best to give your feet the most rest, especially if you have severe stiffness. Apply ice several times a day and wrap your feet using a compression sleeve or an elasticized bandage. Lastly, keep your feet elevated.
Analgesics and Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
RICE treatment is most effective when combined with topical and oral analgesics. You can find a variety of topical analgesics that penetrate through the skin and help relieve pain. Moreover, oral analgesics such as acetaminophen may be useful in overcoming pain associated with stiffness. In case of severe stiffness and inflammation, it is best to go for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). While NSAIDs are great for managing pain and inflammation, they have several side effects associated with its usage. Make sure you discuss the benefits and risks of using NSAIDs with your healthcare provider.
Foot stiffness or spasm and stiffness in any part of the body cannot be fully relieved without physical therapy. While pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs play an essential role in pain management, you may need physical therapy to ease the symptoms fully. Your certified physical therapist can guide you about the right type of exercises to strengthen your ankle, foot, and lower leg. Over time, as you continue to perform these exercises at home, you will gradually notice reduced foot stiffness.
An important thing to remember here is to perform all exercises with the right posture to get the best results.
People with foot stiffness need additional support that regular footwear seldom provides. To support, align, and improve your foot function, you will need customised shoes or orthoses (shoe inserts). Customised orthoses provide support, pressure relief, and extra cushioning so you can continue to perform your everyday task with minimal discomfort. Moreover, extra support from customised footwear aids in reducing feet stiffness.
Stiffness in your feet may not seem like a huge medical problem, but if left untreated, it can severely impact your quality of life. To find out more about feet stiffness and other foot problems and their treatment, contact us now.