Foot Injuries Foot Pain Information

Foot Injuries Foot Pain Information

The human foot is under stress for the majority of awake hours. Every step the average human body makes forces the foot to absorb a load at least four times the weight of the body. Of course, higher impact motions, such as running or jumping, make the foot absorb even more force. So, it’s no wonder that research suggests eighty percent of Americans will experience acute or chronic foot pain at some point in life.


Foot Injuries – Foot Pain


The Anatomy Of The Foot As It Relates To Foot Pain and Foot Injuries

Amazingly, there are twenty-six main bones in the foot (not including the small ossicle bones). The foot is divided into three distinct sections - the hind-foot, mid-foot, and forefoot. The two bones in the hind-foot are the calcaneus (heel bone) and talus. The talus is the bone just above the calcaneus. It, along with the tibia and fibula lower leg bones, forms the ankle joint. The ankle joint allows for the up and down motion of the foot. The talus is then connected to the calcaneus via the subtalar joint. The subtalar joint is what allows for the slight side to side motion of the foot. The five bones in the mid-foot are referred to as the tarsal bones. They are the cuboid; navicular; and medial, lateral, and intermediate cuneiforms. These bones are what form the arch of the foot. There are multiple small joints in this section, but they are fairly rigid and don’t allow much movement. The forefront bones are referred to as the metatarsals and phalanges. The five metatarsals are numbered one through five, starting at the big toe and going crosswise to the smallest toe. There are fourteen phalanges. The big toe has two phalanges and all other toes have three a piece. The joints formed between the metatarsals and the phalanges are called metatarsal phalangeal joints (MTP).

Ligaments have the fun job of holding all these bones together at their joints. Ligaments also assist in maintaining the arched shape of the foot. The plantar fascia is the most infamous ligament in the foot. It’s the thick long ligament that runs from the calcaneus bone to the metatarsals. The plantar calcaneocuboid ligament, also called the short plantar ligament, helps the plantar fascia in supporting the arch. The plantar calcaneonavicular ligament, also called the spring ligament, connects the calcaneus to the navicular bone on the underside of the foot.

The muscles of the foot are divided into intrinsic (located inside the foot) and extrinsic muscles (located inside the lower leg). The intrinsic muscles, such as the plantar flexors, extensors, abductors, and adductors of the foot, are responsible for toe movements. On the other hand, the extrinsic muscles, such as the gastrocnemius and soleus calf muscles, originate in the lower leg and have long tendons that attach (insert) into the foot bones. These muscles, via their tendons, assist with ankle, foot, and some toe movements.

Tendons are similar to ligaments, but they connect muscle to bone. There are multiple tendons in the foot. The Achilles tendon is the most infamous in foot injuries. It attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone. You may feel this tendon at the back of the ankle, especially when you rise on your toes. The posterior tibial tendon and anterior tibial tendon are also important tendons. The posterior tendon helps to support the arch of the foot and allows the foot to turn inwardly. The anterior tendon allows the foot to rise.

Along with the nerve and blood supply, all of the above structures form a complex network that must work together to ensure the foot functions properly. Just one structure suffering an injury or otherwise malfunctioning can cause significant foot pain.

What Causes Foot Injuries And Pain?

The condition of the feet are impacted by everything from how active a person is, sports participation, systemic medical conditions, professional duties, and even what shoes a person wears. Any motion, activity, or force that places an abnormal stress on the structures of the feet can result in an injury. Keep in mind that the above can be a one time traumatic event or a cumulative injury from small repetitive overuse or misuse.

The most common injuries are sprains of the ligaments, strains of the muscles , bruises, and fractures of the bones. Other common foot injuries and sources of foot pain include:

* Turf toe - the base of the big toe becomes painful, reddened, and swollen due to acute tendonitis of the plantar and dorsal surface tendons, a strain, or injury to the first MTP joint. The injury is commonly associated with the big toe hyper-extending.

* Bone spurs and plantar fasciitis - bone spurs are essentially extra bone growth formed on otherwise normal bones. Spurs on the foot are caused by tightened ligaments, usually the plantar fascia. As the plantar fascia is stressed during activities such as running or dancing, it can tighten and pull on the heel. This causes the ligament to become inflamed (plantar fasciitis) and superficial microscopic damage to occur to the bone. The spur may form as the bone tries to heal.

* Achilles tendinitis or tendinosis - the inflammation or degeneration of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon may also tear away from its bone insertion (Achilles tendon avulsion injury.)

* Metatarsalgia- a painful foot condition in the metatarsal region. The joints and bones at the ball-of-the-foot, usually either just near the big toe or under the 4th, 3rd, or 2nd metatarsal heads, will hurt.

* Morton's neuroma - the thickening of nerve tissues between the toes. Neuroma most often affects the nerve that travels between the fourth and third toes. The condition causes a sharp burning pain in the ball-of-the foot and the toes. The toes may also sting or feel numb.

* Fallen arches - while some people are born with flat feet, others develop adult onset flat feet from the tissue around the arch breaking down.

Strengthening Exercises

These Foot Exercises are ideal to build strength and flexibility.

Massage Treatment

These Foot Massage Techniques are of great value in pain relief; circulation stimulation; dispersing blood and fluid accumulations; swelling reduction; and relaxing muscle spasms, especially when used alongside the Sinew Therapeutics liniments and soaks.




This stage is characterized by swelling, redness, pain, and possibly a local sensation of heat, indicating inflammation. If coolness makes your pain feel better, then the Acute Stage Treatment is recommended.




The acute stage starts the moment an injury occurs and lasts until the swelling and inflammation are gone. The swelling is the result of the blockage of blood, tissue fluids and circulation in the foot because their normal movement has been disrupted by the force of the injury. Just like cars back up behind a traffic jam, causing congestion, exhaust and overheating; blood and fluids back up behind the injured foot, causing pain, inflammation, lumps and swelling.

The sensation of heat is due to the warming action of the blood and fluids overheating in the injured foot as they back up and accumulate. Stiffness and decreased mobility are due to spasms in tendons and ligaments that have contracted reflexively beyond their normal range from the impact of the injury.

As ligaments and tendons stretch and tear, blood from ruptured blood vessels becomes trapped in the local tissues. As the trapped blood clots up, it sticks the tissues together creating adhesions. Adhesions cause pain, inflammation and restricted movement because the layers of tissue that used to slide smoothly across one another now adhere and snap which interferes with normal functioning. It is essential to break up clotted blood as quickly as possible to prevent adhesions and scar tissue from forming.

During the acute stage it is very important to restore normal circulation to the foot, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, reduce swelling, and reduce the redness and heat associated with inflammation. By restoring the flow of blood, fluids, and circulation in the foot, then pain is relieved, damaged tissues can regenerate with healthy functional tissue, and the foot can strengthen and regain it's mobility.




1. Apply the Sinew Herbal Ice on your foot to reduce redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the foot. This first-aid treatment is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the healing process. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

Ice is not recommended because it does not help repair damaged tissues and keeps everything in the injured area frozen, causing the stagnation of blood and fluids and the contraction of muscles, tendons and ligaments. In Chinese sports medicine ice is not used and is considered a culprit in injuries that donít heal well.

2. Massage your foot with Acute Sinew Liniment to relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, and stimulate circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.





This stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness, and/or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If heat makes your pain feel better, then the Chronic Stage Treatment is recommended.



The chronic stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel aching pain and stiffness. This is because there are still accumulations of stagnant blood and fluids in your foot that are blocking circulation and blood supply to damaged tissues, creating residual pain, stiffness and weakness. You may actually feel hard nodules like sand in the tissue, indicating accumulation, calcification, and adhesions, which all cause pain, stiffness, and joint instability.

Your foot may feel more sensitive to the cold and ache in cold and damp weather due to impaired circulation. When you move your foot you may hear a clicking or popping sound from the tendons and ligaments slipping very slightly in and out of their natural alignment indicating weakness and joint instability, causing chronic pain and a cycle of reinjury. These symptoms are often the result of failure to treat the injury properly from the outset and overicing.

Increasing circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues is very important in treating chronic injuries because tendons and ligaments do not have an extensive direct supply of blood. That is why chronic injuries can be slow to heal. Increasing local circulation also prevents cold and dampness from penetrating the injured area, preventing pain and stiffness.

During the chronic stage it is very important to break up remaining accumulations of blood and fluids, and increase circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues. By increasing circulation and blood flow in the foot, then pain and stiffness is relieved, and the tendons and ligaments can strengthen to restore stability.



1. Massage your foot with Chronic Sinew Liniment to relieve pain and stiffness, strongly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. The Sinew Relaxing Soak can be used in-between applications.

2. Soak your foot with the Sinew Relaxing Soak to relax muscles and tendons that are in spasm, ease joint pain and stiffness, and improve range of motion. The Sinew Relaxing Soak is particularly useful if you feel restricted mobility in your foot. Chronic Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.