The term, ‘Foot Strain’ is a non-specific term that is used to describe a vague ache or pain in the foot that is due to repeated stress on the tissues of the foot beyond their what they can take over a longer period of time. There may also be a type compensatory chronic pain cycle involved and maybe involvement of trigger points or myofascial pain. It appears to be more common in those who are more active, are heavier or are on their feet all day. It is not uncommon for it to occur during the later stages of a pregnancy.
Usually a ‘foot strain’ is described initially as a ‘muscular ache’ in foot and maybe the leg that gets progressively worse over time. There may be some specific points of tenderness that may be noted, suggesting that myofascial trigger points are involved. The foot is usually excessively pronated and a compensatory forefoot supinatus is often present.
Sometimes a specific pathology may be identified, leading to concern if the actual diagnosis of ‘foot strain’ is appropriate or not. It is rarely mentioned in the literature, but most clinicians will see it, or something similar, commonly; however, they do not necessarily use the term ‘foot strain’. The term was probably more common historically. The term ‘Non-specific foot pain’ is probably more appropriate. The diagnosis is also one of excluding other potential causes of the symptoms
This could be the early stages of another condition and not enough of the ‘pattern’ is established to reach a specific diagnosis.
Fibromyalgia | Plantar fasciitis | Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction | Enthesitis | Inflammatory arthritis
Treatment is usually directed at the specific symptoms if they can be identified.
Correction of foot biomechanics is probably important.
Ischaemic compression of trigger points is often useful.
Mobilisation and manipulation is often helpful.
AH Freiberg; Objective symptomatology of foot strain; Journal of the American Medical Association, August 14, 1920.
Hains G, Boucher PB, Lamy AM; Ischemic compression and joint mobilisation for the treatment of nonspecific myofascial foot pain: findings from two quasi-experimental before-and-after studies. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2015 Mar;59(1):72-83.
‘Unpliable, Unadaptable Foot’