The Sports and Physical Therapy Center Marks National Foot Health Awareness Month by Highlighting Foot, Ankle and Gait Dysfunction

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Patient Results at Missouri Physical Therapy Clinic Shed Light on Correlation Between Foot Health and Overall Wellness

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A review of the results achieved by patients at our physical therapy clinic makes it clear that improper gait mechanics and foot problems can affect the entire body, causing pain and discomfort

In recognition of National Foot Health Awareness Month this April, the Sports and Physical Therapy Center of Eureka, Missouri, is educating patients and the public on the benefits of proper foot care to overall health. The clinic’s physical therapists documented several case studies in which patients reported bodily pain that was caused by foot, ankle and gait dysfunction, and have prepared a list of top tips for anyone experiencing similar symptoms.

According to Sean Quinn, licensed Missouri physical therapist and owner of the Sports and Physical Therapy Center, he and his team see gait dysfunction cases every day that cause numerous problems for patients. “Many individuals suffer with back and knee pain, flat foot, or tendinitis,” said Quinn. “It’s imperative they receive a proper evaluation to reveal and address the underlying cause of their pain. In many cases, foot, ankle and gait dysfunction is directly related to their symptoms. Physical therapy programs designed to correct these problems offer significant relief from pain, and can improve patients’ long-term health.”

Quinn explained that patients may not realize the cause of their hip problems, low back pain, knee ligament tears, and knee problems may actually be foot dysfunction, such as flat feet, high arches, or fallen arches. He notes that many cases of foot and gait dysfunction can be improved through strengthening exercises, stretching, and manual therapy. To illustrate, Quinn shared three case studies in which Sports and Physical Therapy Center patients found relief through physical therapy:

•A teacher came to the clinic with sharp left-lateral knee pain. Each step was extremely painful, and his knee felt unstable. After a thorough examination, his therapist determined that he had a very dominant right leg, weak left leg, and poor gait mechanics. Through his physical therapy treatment plan, he learned to push off through his toes when walking and eliminate his shuffling gait. He also performed exercises to improve his strength and flexibility. Today, he is able to teach all day without pain.”

•For another patient, a difference in strength between the right and left leg led to a decreased ability to lift her toes when walking. As her body compensated for the strength difference, she developed irritation in her hip, which led to hip bursitis and severe pain when standing or walking. The therapist was able to help correct her awkward gait, increase her left leg strength and flexibility, and resolve her pain through physical therapy treatment.

•A retail clerk sought out Quinn’s team for treatment of his back and knee pain. This patient had flat foot as well as a number of gait deviations, due to decreased mobility in his ankles, poor core stabilization and weak foot musculature. After undergoing a physical therapy treatment plan of manual mobilization, foot strengthening, and gait and balance training, he is again able to work on his feet for eight hours, pain-free.

“A review of the results achieved by patients at our physical therapy clinic makes it clear that improper gait mechanics and foot problems can affect the entire body, causing pain and discomfort,” Quinn concluded. “But the good news is that many of these problems can be alleviated through physical therapy treatment. Our therapists can help patients avoid unnecessary pain and return to their normal activities, as well as their favorite sports and hobbies.”

In honor of National Foot Health Awareness Month in April, the experts at the Sports and Physical Therapy Center offer these foot and ankle related tips:

1.To alleviate tightness in the ankle, which can place additional stress and pressure on the knee, perform ankle stretches throughout the day. These can be as simple as making circles with each foot, whether you’re lying down, sitting at your desk, or standing.

2.Choose the right footwear to properly support your feet and ankles. Try to avoid insufficient arch support, high heels, and tight straps that can lead to instability and even knee pain. Pointed toes may not allow enough room for your toes to stretch out, causing nerve pain and other problems.

3.Don’t ignore pain. It’s your body’s way of signaling a problem. Whether you have pain in your feet, knees, hips, back, or anywhere in the body, it’s important to find and treat the underlying cause.

4.Have your gait analyzed. A gait analysis can assess the way you walk, and highlight biomechanical abnormalities. Limited range of motion, muscular imbalance, or muscle tightness can lead to injuries, overcompensation, and pain.

5.If you’re diabetic, take extra care with your feet. Examine them each day for cuts, blisters, or swelling.

Along with these tips, Quinn recommends proper body mechanics as the best way to prevent injuries. “Our patients’ experiences demonstrate the importance of learning proper movement to correct foot, ankle, and gait dysfunction. At our physical therapy clinic, we also focus on improving each patient’s fitness and wellness, according to their lifestyle and goals. Most importantly, we strive to help every patient enjoy lifelong, pain-free wellness.”

For more information on the Foot Health Awareness Month at the Sports and Physical Therapy Center in Eureka, or to schedule a physical therapy appointment, call 636-938-4065. To learn more about the full range of services provided by Sean Quinn and his team of Missouri licensed physical therapists, visit http://www.ptstl.com.

About the Sports and Physical Therapy Center
Located in Eureka, Missouri, the Sports and Physical Therapy Center was founded in 2004 and serves patients in the greater St. Louis area. Owner Sean Quinn is a licensed Physical Therapist in Missouri as well as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He holds a master’s degree in Physical Therapy from St. Louis University, and specializes in manual therapy techniques, orthopedics and sports medicine. Quinn worked in outpatient physical therapy clinics for several years before establishing his own practice. Today, the center employs a team of highly skilled physical therapists and a personal trainer, as well as dedicated finance, customer care and administrative staff. For more information, visit http://www.ptstl.com or call 636-938-4065.

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