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Exercise programmes

Exercise programmes are sets of activities which cause motion of the foot and lower limb to provide relief from symptoms or improve function.

What are exercise programmes?

Exercise programmes are prescribed movements and activities which are used by podiatrists in the treatment of injuries or conditions of the foot and lower limb. The exercises recommended will depend on the presenting problem and will be specific to each patient. They can take the form of stretching and strengthening exercises, balance or mobilisation and/or aerobic exercise activities that can be made sports specific.

What podiatry related conditions can exercise programmes help with?

There are particular podiatry related conditions which exercise programmes can be effective in the treatment of. These include;

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Tight calves
  • Rehabilitation following fracture
  • Ankle sprain
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Arthritic pain

How do exercise programmes work?

Exercise programmes can work in two ways, to reduce recovery times by promoting healing and to prevent injury from recurring in the future.

Promote healing - If a muscle is torn, sprained or strained following injury, hard fibrous tissue known as scar tissue develops naturally during healing. This scar tissue can contract to form knots along the length of the muscle, which can then cause pain by compressing nerves in the area. These knots can also lead to poor circulation, meaning the removal of waste products and the delivery of nutrient is less efficient.

Certain exercises can help to break down this scar tissue and improve healing times within the muscle tissue by promoting circulation.

Prevent injury - Scar tissue is generally weaker and less flexible than normal healthy tissue and is particularly prone to injury. Exercise programmes can prevent further injury with stretching and strengthening techniques, which increases the muscles tolerance to flexion and extension so that they can then tolerate the stresses of daily activities and sport.

What are the benefits of exercise programmes?

Exercise programs can bring many benefits to patients. They can include;

  • Reduce the incidence of injury occurring
  • Improve and increase physical activity
  • Improve the rate of recovery
  • Improve muscle function
  • Help to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Improve muscle flexibility and relaxation
  • Improve balance and co-ordination

Similar treatments / services that could help?

There are other services available which can be used in the treatment of your condition;

  • Taping treatments
  • The use of orthotics/insoles
  • Steroid injections
  • Padding and strapping therapy
  • Ultrasound therapy
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