Physical therapy is something that most people know is necessary after a surgery or acute injury such as an ankle sprain or muscle strain, but it is not always the first thing that comes to mind when pain slowly starts to creep in over time.
This can often be the case as we start to work towards reaching specific fitness goals due to the repetitive stresses that increased exercise duration, intensity, and/or frequency place on our bodies. These type of overuse injuries are typically caused by a combination of factors including impaired mobility, lack of strength, muscular imbalances, and poor coordination, to name a few.
To further complicate things, these limitations may be at a completely different region of the body from where you are experiencing the pain. For example, hip and core weakness can lead to increased stress, and subsequently pain, at the foot and ankle.
The good new is that physical therapists are experts at evaluating and treating these types of musculoskeletal dysfunctions! They can help you identify areas that need work and develop an exercise program to address these. There are also many manual therapy (aka “hands on”) techniques that can be used to support the healing process and reduce your pain.
Physical therapists will also be able to recommend modifications to your current training program so you are able to continue working towards your goals while supporting you body as it heals. Temporary muscle soreness with exercise is normal, but a nagging pain that is holding you back from pushing towards your goals is not!