“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Khalil Gibran
Our feet, though lowly and often ill-regarded, are our chief means of locomotion. In other words, without them, we would be hard-pressed to get around easily. This is why suffering from foot muscle pain can be so frustrating.
A Look at Foot Muscle Pain
The human foot is a complex and intricate structure that is composed of 26 bones, 33 joints – 20 of them being actively articulated – and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
A description of the regions of the foot from Wikipedia explains that the foot can be subdivided into the hindfoot, the midfoot, and the forefoot:
- The hindfoot is composed of the talus (or ankle bone) and the calcaneus (or heel bone). Connected to the talus at the subtalar joint, the calcaneus, the largest bone of the foot, is cushioned underneath by a layer of fat.
- The five irregular bones of the midfoot – the cuboid, navicular, and three cuneiform bones – form the arches of the foot which serves as a shock absorber. The midfoot is connected to the hindfoot and forefoot by muscles and the plantar fascia.
- The forefoot is composed of five toes and the corresponding five proximal long bones forming the metatarsus.
- Both the midfoot and forefoot constitute the dorsum (the area facing upwards while standing) and the planum (the area facing downwards while standing).
- The instep is the arched part of the top of the foot between the toes and the ankle.
The point here is to illustrate the numerous regions and connections between bones, tendons, muscles, and other soft tissues throughout the foot. Add to this the almost constant movement and dynamic nature of these structures, the inherent tensile strength and durability of the foot is awe-inspiring, to say the least.
Yet it is this same dynamism and complexity that makes the foot prone to muscle, tendon, joint, and bone pain.
Common Causes of Foot Muscle Pain
There are, in fact, dozens of various causes of foot pain – muscle pain to be sure, but this is often caused by a related injury, irritation, or inflammation elsewhere though connected. For example, the muscles in the planum region of the foot can experience pain that is triggered from the occurrence of plantar fasciitis.
According to the Mayo Clinic,
“Injury, overuse or conditions causing inflammation involving any of the bones, ligaments or tendons in the foot can cause foot pain. Arthritis is a common cause of foot pain. Injury to the nerves of the feet may result in intense burning pain, numbness or tingling (peripheral neuropathy).”
Here are the three most common causes of foot muscle pain:
- Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon, a thick, fibrous cord that attaches a muscle to bone. The condition causes pain and tenderness just outside a joint. While tendinitis can occur in any of your tendons, it’s most common around your shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and heels.
- Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain caused by the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning.
- Metatarsalgia is a common overuse injury. It is typically experienced as pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot. The ball of your foot is the area between your toes and your arch. It’s often thought of as a symptom of other conditions, rather than as a specific disease.
Treating Foot Muscle Pain
At Pain and Performance Solutions, we understand that the most effective treatment for most common foot muscle pain issues is a combination of Anatomy in Motion and Active Release Techniques®.
The foundation of Anatomy in Motion AiM is based on principles of movement that are influenced by our most fundamental movement as humans, our gait, or walking. At its core, AiM is a movement-based therapeutic approach to treating movement-related pain.
This is accomplished through helping your body find its own optimal alignment to allow for smooth and unrestricted movement.
Based on the premise that everything in the human body is connected and interdependent, AiM is a systemic approach that recognizes that an imbalance or misalignment in one area of your body will affect your entire body.
In conjunction with AiM, we make use of Active Release Techniques®, which is an effective treatment for patients suffering with different foot muscle pain issues such as plantar fasciitis, for example.
By using manual, or hands-on, therapy combined with a corrective exercise plan we can help you restore your foot’s normal movement mechanics. In addition, this type of focused correction can help prevent the plantar fascia from experiencing further excess force and stress.
If you are suffering chronic foot pain, make an appointment to see us for an evaluation. By taking the right steps to treating your foot muscle pain – allowing us to determine the actual cause of your foot pain – we can help you achieve the goal of recovery.
Pain and Performance Solutions and Foot Muscle Pain
At your first appointment, we will learn about your present pain as well as any history of discomfort. Proper treatment and relief of your foot pain can only start once we understand where and how your pain started.
A full examination will help us determine which form of treatment technique and therapy will be best suited to get you on your road to recovery.
Ultimately, getting your body healthy and working properly is the only way to achieve total recovery. In the process, your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any questions that you may have.
Our goal is to work through the sequence of pain and dysfunction in order to get your body healthy and working properly and to achieve total recovery.