Ice packs can help reduce swelling and numb painful joints and muscles, but some folks prefer moist heat to ease aches. Others find the best relief from a combination of both. Follow these basic guidelines: Use ice -- never heat -- in the first 48 hours after an injury, and make sure never to place an ice pack directly on the skin (use a paper towel or cotton lining). After the first 48 hours, use heat or alternate heat with cold. Not sure which is best? Check with your doctor.
2 AnswersJay Morgan, NASM Elite Trainer, Fitness, answered
Individuals who are utilizing rigid foot orthotics commonly demonstrate poor foot mechanics. Usually these individuals are referred to as having "flat feet", and are in an over pronated position. The calcaneus bone (rear foot) is in an averted position in stance, and the forefoot demonstrates an abducted or various positions. Inevitably these positions would leave the individual’s foot and ankle complex in a hypermobile state and lacking proper foot mechanics. This lack of mobility and stability at the foot sets up the rest of the body for inefficient and ineffective movement. In walking for example, this would result in a lack of internal rotation at the tibia and femur, which would lead to a lack of proper mobility at the hip. As a result, the tissue complexes of the leg and hip would have to compensate and the chance of injury would increase.
A rigid foot orthotic can address the positioning of the rear foot and forefoot position by creating a deep heel cup and add in medial posting at the rear and forefoot. The goal would be to create an environment for the foot to enhance stability and foot mechanics. At Dynamic Health and Fitness we utilize the Quadra step system by Nolaro24 to address this foot type. For more information visit www.dynamichealthfitness.com
1 AnswerIf you have foot discomfort in a particular pair of shoes, your first step should be to invest in better shoes. Properly fitted, well-cushioned shoes may provide you with the support you need. And since custom orthoses can vary widely in cost (ranging from $150 to $400), better-fitting shoes may be considerably less expensive. If the problem is minor and you just need a little more cushioning, try an over-the-counter insert.
If the problem persists or if you find that you suffer discomfort in all of your shoes, talk to a foot care specialist. You may benefit from custom orthoses. Orthoses frequently succeed in treating such disorders as flat feet, problems of the metatarsals, neuromas, and heel pain. In general, there are three main kinds of custom orthoses: soft, rigid, and semi-rigid.
1 AnswerPain caused by nerve damage may not respond well to the usual pain relievers, so doctors rely on other medications. Two mainstays in treating nerve pain in the feet include the antidepressant amitriptyline (Elavil), which increases the levels of brain chemicals that ratchet down pain signals, and the anticonvulsant gabapentin (Neurontin), which apparently works by interfering with nerve signaling involved in pain as well as seizures. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved pregabalin (Lyrica), a medication for nerve pain relief that also doubles as an antiseizure medication, and duloxetine (Cymbalta), an antidepressant, for nerve pain associated with diabetes.
1 AnswerTopical pain medications are available in lotion, cream, or gel form. They are spread on the skin and penetrate inward to relieve some forms of mild foot pain. Some topical preparations -- such as those containing menthol, eucalyptus oil, or turpentine oil -- reduce pain by distracting the nerves with a different type of sensation. Another group delivers salicylates (the same ingredient as in aspirin) through the skin. A third group contains a chemical known as substance P, which is a neurotransmitter that appears to transmit pain signals to the brain. These creams contain a derivative of a natural ingredient found in cayenne pepper. For that reason, they may burn or sting when first applied.
2 AnswersIf foot pain is throwing a wrench in your daily plans, there's a simple solution. Research shows that orthotics -- custom-made insoles that help realign abnormal foot mechanics -- can work wonders for many types of foot pain.
A review of 11 clinical studies found that custom orthotics, made for your feet, can ease pain from a host of problems, including high arches, rear-foot aches from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and hallux valgus -- misalignment of the big toe. Orthotics are somewhat less successful at relieving plantar fasciitis but may still be worth trying.
Dealing with foot, knee or hip pain can be a drag, but it doesn't have to stop you from doing the things you love. Here are some ways to ease the aches:
- Exercise. Regular physical activity can actually alleviate pain and stiffness.
- Watch your weight. The heavier you are, the more stress you put on joints.
- Give 'em a rub with ointments that boost blood flow to the skin.
- Make sure you are wearing the right walking shoe for your feet.
1 AnswerLawrence Friedman, Gastroenterology, answeredAntispasmodic medications, including atropine and related agents, peppermint oil, dicyclomine (Bentyl), or hyoscyamine (Levsin), may provide some temporary relief of mild abdominal pain by reducing bowel spasms. People who often experience cramps after eating may reduce symptoms if they take one of these medications before meals.
1 AnswerNatalia Rost, MD, Neurology, answeredCentral pain syndrome results from damage to sensory pathways caused by a stroke. The brain overcompensates for the damage, misinterpreting normal sensory input as painful sensations. Over-the-counter and prescription pain medications do not effectively treat central pain syndrome. However, tricyclic antidepressants such as nortriptyline or amitriptyline and anticonvulsants such as gabapentin may help. Managing stress may also help reduce pain.
1 AnswerNatalia Rost, MD, Neurology, answeredLocal pain after a stroke results from the unusual positioning of a joint due to muscle tightness or stiffness that is common in stroke survivors. It frequently occurs in the shoulder. Treatment of local pain is fairly straightforward, and may involve simple exercises, the use of a sling or armrest to support a weakened arm, strategic positioning of a weakened or paralyzed arm or leg, or cortisone injections to reduce swelling. More severe or unrelenting local pain can be treated with electrical stimulation. Electrical currents may improve muscle tone and strength by stimulating nerve and muscle fibers. This could, in turn, reduce pain.
1 AnswerEdward Phillips, Physical Therapy, answeredIf you think pain relief could help you exercise more comfortably, discuss the options with your doctor. Examples include the following:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers. Naproxen (Aleve), ibuprofen (Advil), or acetaminophen (Tylenol) help reduce pain. Check with your doctor about the safest choice for you. Take 30 to 45 minutes before you do a workout.
- Warm showers. Showering before exercise helps warm up muscles and joints.
- Cold. Apply an ice wrap to the sore joint for 20 minutes after exercise.
- Braces. When needed, a brace can help support muscles, distribute force, and limit movement. Talk to your doctor about whether a brace would be helpful, and, if so, which kind to choose.