At Foot Specialists of Long Island, we want you to be aware of various treatment methods and options that can help restore health and mobility to your feet and ankles. One such option that some patients benefit greatly from is physical therapy (PT). There are different times when we might recommend this practice, including after a surgical procedure, as part of a treatment plan, and even to prevent injury from happening in the first place.
Physical Therapy 101
This treatment focuses on biomechanical processes to achieve the goals of restoring function, relieving pain, and/or improving fitness levels. In some cases, doctors may recommend this practice for individuals who suffer from long-term health problems or have been injured in some capacity.
The therapy is typically directed by a physical therapist who assesses your condition and then creates a treatment plan centered on the goals established by you and your doctor. These are often concerned with restoring flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, endurance, and even joint movement.
In almost all cases, PT entails some form or another of exercise. These might include weight lifting, core exercises, stretching, and even simply walking. Often, a therapist will create a program that can be done at home. Beyond exercises, a therapist might use techniques like electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and massage in order to achieve the established goals.
Invasive surgical procedures are physically demanding. After the surgery is done, it is important to let the body heal and regain its strength. A physical therapist can help by developing a plan that slowly ramps up levels of intensity, which actually leads to a faster recovery than pushing the body to do too much before it is ready.
In order to best understand how the body is responding to the rehabilitation process, therapy is often done on a one-to-one basis. This allows both you and the therapist to clearly communicate and effectively understand what is happening and what needs to be done.
Physical Therapy as Treatment
While you might think of this type of therapy as simply a tool for recovery from an injury or surgery, it can also be used while treating a foot or ankle issue. Often, this will entail the use of stretching or strengthening exercises to improve an existing condition.
Foot and ankle conditions that can benefit from PT include:
- Achilles tendinitis – This condition can easily recur when too much physical activity is resumed without the tendon fully healing. A physical therapist can create a program that gradually ramps up in intensity and reduces the risk of an Achilles tendon rupture.
- Ankle sprains – Sprained ankles are rather common, even for non-athletes, but jumping back to action too soon after this injury increases the likelihood of ankle instability and recurring injury.
- Plantar fasciitis – A therapist can introduce you to stretching and strengthening exercises that not only treat the condition, but also can be used to prevent it from happening.
- Neuropathy – Damaged nerves can lead to muscle weakness, but PT is a potential treatment option that can improve strength and movement and restore balance.
Postsurgical rehabilitation or treatment for an existing condition are the first uses of PT that come to mind. Rarely do individuals associate this therapy with preventative care, but physical therapists are educated in kinesiology (science of how the body moves) and often are well-versed in exercises. Combined, these two factors can allow them to create plans that improve range-of-motion, balance, flexibility, and strength, all of which are essential for reducing the risk of injury.
Health Education in Long Island, NY
Patients who are interested in learning more about physical therapy are encouraged to contact our office for more information. Simply give Foot Specialists of Long Island a call at (516) 804-9038 or come see us if you are experiencing foot or ankle pain. As always, feel free to schedule your appointment with our Nassau County office online today.