An injury of any kind can interrupt your life and knock you off your feet, whether that’s gradually through overuse or suddenly in an accident. The pain and damage makes it difficult to impossible for your lower limbs to function normally. Getting back to your activities—and even to normal life—requires a full recovery. This process varies somewhat depending on the injury, but it starts when you first diagnose the problem and continues through your rehabilitation.
Identifying Your Injury
You can hurt your feet many different ways, whether through overuse or a sudden accident. Many problems can cause damage that limits your mobility and causes you pain. The first step in any injury healing is to accurately identify the problem and find out how to treat it. If you don’t know what is behind your pain, or how serious it is, you certainly can’t take care of it.
Foot and ankle specialists like our team at Podiatry Associates, P.C. will work with you to identify what tissues were damaged, how serious the problem is, and why they got hurt. This may involve a variety of different tests to get the most accurate picture of your needs. That way the correct part of your foot can be treated in the way it needs, and the problem can hopefully be avoided in the future.
First Aid and Basic Treatment
The exact treatment for your injury will depend on what’s affected and how serious it is. First aid starts with immediate care and set you up for more extensive treatment. Any swelling and inflammation will need to be addressed. Often RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) and other similar methods are recommended for first aid, particularly for soft tissue injuries like sprains and muscle strains. This treatment discourages inflammation and cuts down on your swelling, so your tissues can begin to mend themselves.
Inevitably, any treatment will involve resting your foot. Whether you have a sprained ankle, a stress fracture, a torn ligament, or any other injury, big or small, you’ll need to take a break and rest. You’ll have to cut back on your activities and limit how much you stress your lower limbs in your daily life, too, so you don’t worsen the damage. Some injuries may require immobilization and zero weight in order to fully heal—particularly fractures, serious sprains, and ruptured ligaments. How long you will have to rest will vary, depending the damage was and your unique physical needs. You can expect anywhere from a couple days to several months of rest, though, as your tissues mend.
Rehabilitation and Recovery
A full recovery doesn’t end when damaged tissues are made whole again, however. You need to rehabilitate your lower limbs so they return to full strength and are able to support you again. This typically involves exercises and physical therapy to restore flexibility and power. After something like a sprain, strain, or fracture, your feet may be stiff and weak. Exercises stretch tightened tissues and build up atrophied muscles. This may involve balance training, walking on your heels or toes, toe scrunches, and much more. Typically rehabilitation lasts a while, especially if you’re trying to return to sports. You can expect several weeks to months of this stage in your recovery.
A full recovery takes time and effort. You have to actively care for your lower limbs and invest in their health and healing. Our experts at Podiatry Associates, P.C. are here to help you through every step along the way. Don’t delay and risk complications or poor healing. Make an appointment with our podiatry or physical therapy team our Castle Pines, Cherry Creek in Denver, or Parker, CO, office locations today. You can call (303) 805-5156 or use our online request forms to reach us.