In the context of podiatry care, foot mobilisation refers to gentle, hands-on, very small passive movements of the joints in your feet. Foot mobilisations are used to improve joint motion and reduce pain.
Foot mobilisations are sometimes incorporated into a treatment plan for people with foot pain where restricted joint movement (or stiffness) are contributing to the problem. Combined with a specific stretching and strengthening programme, foot mobilisations can help with problems ranging from heel pain to bunions and more.
Understanding foot mobilisation
You have 33 joints in each foot – think of these joints like a chain. Joint stiffness can significantly affect the way your foot functions and moves, impacting every other link along the chain. Sometimes compensatory patterns of movement occur and other areas of the foot may be placed under more pressure, in turn increasing the likelihood of secondary areas of pain or dysfunction.
Which problems can foot mobilisations help with?
Foot mobilisations may be used to help with problems including heel pain, plantar fasciitis, bunions, ankle pain, midfoot pain, pain at the ball of the foot, pain on the outside and inside borders of the feet, neuromas, hammertoes and more.
How are foot mobilisations incorporated into your treatment?
Your very first appointment will involve an assessment to check the current status of the joints and muscles in your feet or legs. Muscle assessment is also important, as often muscular tightness contributes to restrictions in joint function. Once we deduce which joints are affected, and are contributing to your symptoms, we’ll create a tailored plan for you which may include hands-on mobilisation.
The other components of your treatment plan may include a stretching and strengthening program, dry needling, myofascial release and other musculoskeletal techniques.
You’ll be instructed on what you can expect from treatment, how many sessions you might need and how to perform your home exercise program.
Is foot mobilisation painful?
If we are using foot mobilisations to help treat a current painful problem, then you may feel a little tenderness when the painful joint is mobilised. However, the treatment should not be painful. Our podiatrists are highly skilled in performing these techniques and will work with you to develop an appropriate treatment plan.