Foot inflammation is generally a swelling of muscles and tissues of the foot that occurs in response to injury or discomfort to tissues. It is more of a healing process but if it does not becomes fine over the time; it could be some severe medical condition like plantar fasciitis, gout, tarsal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, diabetic ulcer, calcaneal spur or fractures. It is usually accompanied by intense pain, heavy foot and inability to bear body weight.
Inflammation is more of a natural defensive mechanism that increases blood flow to affected area leading to fluid accumulation. This protective action is performed by the body with early signals of skin redness, increased warmth and pain, in response to the inflammation that develops beneath the skin.
Immediate Relief For Acute Inflammation Of The Foot
Rice therapy [Rest Ice Compression Elevation]
Give complete rest to the foot as much as one can so that no further injury could happen. In few cases, it may demand complete immobilization. Regular icing to the swollen area of the foot should be performed till inflammation subsides.
Use several cubes of ice and put in clean towel or zip lock bags and then put over inflamed area until ice melts. Repeat this procedure four times a day, since, continued icing decreases blood flow to tissues by making nerves numb, thereby reducing pain and swelling of the foot.
Compress the inflamed foot by wrapping it in stocking or elastic bandage or crepe bandage. Carefully wrap by being firm at the toes and keeping it little loose at the calf. Compression avoids further fluid accumulation and relieves the foot pain. Keep the foot at elevated height that is little above the heart, so that excess fluid gets drain off to the heart. Make use of pillows for support and keep beneath the calf and ensure to bent knee and hip. Avoid keeping the leg stretched and straight at this heighted level.
Medical Options For Inflamed Foot
The well known pain relievers that reduce foot pain even when it is still swollen. But for those who are heavy drinkers, they should consult doctor before administering, as drugs like acetaminophen when combines with alcohol leads to liver damage.
Under condition of both inflammation and pain like in sprain or Achilles tendinitis, doctor advice to take a higher NSAID dose for several weeks, as pain relieving effect happens instantly but anti-inflammatory response occurs after adequate amount of medication stays in the bloodstream. NSAIDS have several side effects and do consider those before using these for long durations.
These COX-2 inhibitors help to get relief from inflammation as well as pain and also may reduce the risk of bleeding or ulcers, the usual side effects of NSAID medications. These COX-2 inhibitor drugs have their own side effects that should be known beforehand.
Topical medications can be directly applied to skin and available in cream, lotion or gel form. On applying, these penetrate underneath the skin layers relieving mild foot pain. Few topical analgesics containing eucalyptus oil, menthol or turpentine oil act by modulating pain causing nerves, and few others analgesics act by neutralizing the effect of neurotransmitter (substance P) that aids to transmit signals of pain to the brain.
These are synthetic complements of naturally formed hormones produced by adrenal glands of the body. These may be given as pills or injected into veins to decrease pain and inflammation. Topical corticosteroids are also available but these are useful only for rash treatments.
Ultrasound waves are high frequency sound waves that can be directly focused onto inflamed area of foot to speed up healing and decrease inflammation of the foot. It works best for injuries of soft tissues.
Foot inflammation or ligament tears in foot rarely need surgical treatments, but in case of long time instabilities after the foot injury, one may require one of the two recommended surgery – reconstruction or arthroscopy. Arthroscopy assists to monitor the joints and look for loose pieces of injured cartilage, whether any of these get trapped within the joint area.
Reconstruction helps to repair any torn ligaments by sewing together the open, damaged end. For this procedure, other tendons or ligaments that are in fine shape are being used to repair the damage.
In addition to above treatments, one should try performing simple, light stretching exercises of foot, ankle and calf to ease tension over foot ligaments. Regular exercises prove to offer strength, improved flexibility and blood supply to the inflamed foot region. Increased blood supply, suffices the added nourishment needed to relieve inflammation and speeds up the healing process.
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