Foot Strain & Foot Sprain
What Is The Difference Between a Strain and a Sprain?
Sprains and strains are the most common injuries in sports, but they can also happen at home. Knowing how to identify the difference between a sprain and strain can help you treat your injury more effectively.
Lifting something too heavy, hitting the tennis court before you've warmed up, or the first day back on the field after the off-season of your sport are common precursors to a strain. A strain is typically the twisting, pulling, or tearing of a muscle or tendon (tendons are fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones and help them move). Acute strains are sudden injuries, such as jumping and landing improperly, whereas chronic strains are prolonged, repetitive overuse injuries that causes damage to muscle fibers.
Typical Symptoms of a Strain
- Pain and limited mobility of the muscle
- Muscle spasms or cramping
- Tenderness and swelling
- Bruising or redness
That "pop" that you heard in your joint may be a sprain. When a joint is overextended or severely stressed, it can overstretch or tear a ligament, which are the fibrous tissues that keep bones connected together and stable. Twisting or rolling an ankle, pivoting with your knee, landing on the wrist when falling, and other unnatural movements can cause mild to severe sprains. Sprains are usually categorized into Grades, depending on the severity of the damage to the ligament.
Typical Symptoms of a Sprain
- Swelling & Stiffness
- Limited Range of Motion
A foot strain is an injury to a foot muscle. The muscles that make up your feet are located in the lower leg and calf, so strains can happen anywhere from the bottom of your heel to the top of your toes. A strain happens when one or more muscles are overused or injured by sudden movement, like tripping on a curb or stepping on something sharp. It can also happen if a muscle becomes fatigued from too much activity or running long distances on hard surfaces (like pavement). Symptoms of a foot strain include difficulty walking and pain in the affected foot.
In general, you can help treat strains by resting, icing the area, applying compression and elevating it above the heart. You should also consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your injury.
A sprain is an injury to a ligament. A ligament is a tough band of tissue that connects bones to each other. The most common area of sprain in the foot by far is the ankle.
If you are experiencing an ankle sprain, one or more ligaments around your ankle tendons has become stretched out beyond their usual range of motion, usually due to an awkward twist while walking or running (think spraining an ankle after slipping on ice or in a hole). This type of sprain can occur at any age but is most common in young adults who participate in sports like basketball and soccer where they are constantly moving around on their feet all day long.
Sprains are graded on a scale of 1-3:
- Grade 1: Minor ligament overstretching and some tenderness
- Grade 2: Partial Tear in one or more ligaments
- Grade 3: Complete tear in one or more ligaments
Symptoms of foot sprain include pain, swelling and bruising around the affected area of the foot. You can usually tell when you've sprained a joint because it will be painful, swollen and bruised. Some possible treatments for a foot sprain are rest, ice, compression and elevation.
If you suspect that you have a sprained foot, the first thing to do is rest the foot. This will allow it to heal. You should also apply ice to reduce swelling and compression to reduce swelling. Elevation of the foot, especially above heart level, although make sure there’s no pain when you do this in other areas of the body, may also be beneficial. If you have suffered a grade 3 sprain (a complete tear), surgery will likely be required for reattachment.
Sprains tend to be more serious than strains because they involve injuries to ligaments (the soft tissue that connects bones to each other when they move or rotate), and can take a longer amount of time to recover than a strain. Ligaments are different from tendons (which connect muscles to bones), but they're both important parts of our body that help us move around and protect our joints from damage.
Causes of Foot Strains & Foot Sprains
Overuse of the foot will cause a repetitive stress injury; this occurs when muscles are used over and over again to the point where they breakdown, causing inflammation and pain. An overuse injury can happen more quickly due to poor biomechanics, improper footwear and/or excessive weight bearing activity.
To treat an overuse injury:
- Rest the feet as much as possible and try to limit activity while not wearing shoes. The American Academy of Podiatrists recommends wearing comfortable shoes with good arch support and cushioning.
- Ice your feet for 15 minutes three times a day to reduce pain and swelling while also helping to speed up recovery time. Your doctor may recommend conservative treatment options that include circulation boosting therapies such as light stretching and the application of a TShellz® Circulatory Boost Wrap.
- Compressions sleeves, such as MendMeShop's Achilles/ Ankle support brace, will help stabilize ligaments within the ankle joint so they don't slip out of place during movement. This can be very effective in reducing risk of further injury while you recover.
As you may have guessed, muscle imbalances are the result of the body using one set of muscles more than another. Imbalances can occur in any number of places, but know that muscle imbalances in the back, hips, legs, knees and feet will likely affect the way you walk. With an out-of-balance gait, you are much more likely to experience injuries in the feet. (ie. plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, ankle sprain, foot bursitis, etc).
Weak muscles can put pressure on bones and cause pain in the feet and ankles. The problem may be worse for people who spend long periods of time on their feet each day (like nurses), or those who stand for long periods at work without taking breaks.
Pronation describes your foot's tendency to roll inward toward its arch when it hits the ground while walking or running because there is an imbalance between the size of your forefoot and hindfoot bones (metatarsals). Pronation itself isn’t usually painful unless it’s accompanied by inflammation from excessive motion during activities like walking or running. Even mild cases should be treated early so they don’t worsen over time. Conditions such as these can develop into more serious conditions like arthritis in later years (which makes sense considering how many hours per day we spend on our feet).
Excessive supination (or the rolling out of your foot when it lands) happens less frequently than pronation. Flat feet can cause supination problems as well as high arches and fallen arches (the opposite of high arches).
BioMechanical Dysfunction of the Foot
Biomechanical dysfunction (also described as a functional foot disorder) is the most common type of foot strain. It's caused by poor posture or abnormal foot structure that leads to muscle imbalance and pain in other parts of your body.
Improper Foot Alignment
This can happen when you have flat feet or fallen arches.
Painful inflammation in joints caused by rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis or osteoarthritis leads to swelling and stiffness in your joints (often affecting the joints near the bottom of your spine) which affects how well the joints absorb shock as you walk. The pain experienced from arthritis will not doubt affect you gait as well, leading to muscle imbalances.
If you are experiencing significant, ongoing issues in your feet, it is important to source out potential underlying causes in order to relieve chronic or acute pain. In some cases, these underlying causes may be in other parts of the body (ie. short leg syndrome, sciatica, etc).
Your feet are the foundation of your body and are critical in day to day movement; for this reason, the feet can become a major source of pain for many people. If you have an inflamed joint anywhere in your body, there may be a chance that it could be relieved by addressing issues in your feet. The best way to address foot strain is by seeing a healthcare professional who has experience in this area.
A Note On OverCompensation
Since you have read up to this point, you probably realize that serious foot pain will eventually wreak havoc on you due to lack of movement and over-compensation. It will also create trouble in other joints and muscles due to overcompensation. Recovery takes a longer time for such chronic (long term) injuries, but proper healing is essential to regain strength and get you back to the activities you enjoy.
The longer your injury endures, the greater the risk of running into serious overcompensation injuries.
To Stop Re-Injury & Reduce the Risk of a More Serious Overcompensation Injury, You Need to Heal Quickly & Completely!
Anyone in need of rapid recovery and complete healing must consider a comprehensive treatment plan that includes an effective means to minimize swelling and inflammation yet also stimulate healing and tissue elasticity. We have found no better set of tools that can be used at home than this:
Conservative Treatment Tools Our Clients Have Used to Help Limit Foot Damage & Boost The Body's Soft Tissue Repair Process at Home:
If you are truly looking for the home treatment options to reduce inflammation, increase range of motion, and treat the source of pain quickly, a conservative treatment protocol including the following are what we consider to be the most effective:
- A Cold Compress or Ice Pack to reduce inflammation wherever there is pain and/or swelling (as soon as possible).
- A Plantar TShellz Wrap® [or a Sesamoid TShellz Wrap® if the location is at the metacarpals or toes] to increase blood-flow to the targeted treatment area (a Localized Enhanced Circulatory Response® Treatment).
- MendMeShop Arnica Pain Cream for powerful, temporary relief of pain due to sore muscles and joints.
- Perhaps a High Quality Knee Pillow for comfort while sleeping, sitting and raising the foot.
- If you need compression, a Plantar Compression Band for compression and support in the foot - adjustable from heel to toe.
- An Exercise & Stretching Plan to prevent muscle atrophy, shortened tendons/ligaments/fascia. A proper plan will increase soft tissue elasticity and strength in the affected area.
Conservative treatment tools just like these have been used successfully by thousands of foot injury sufferers - just like you.
The TShellz Wrap®: Intended to Enhance Blood Flow in the Treatment Area
We believe the use of TShellz Wraps® for boosting blood flow to soft tissue in the area of application is one of the most under-utilized home treatment options available on the market today. We have client after client that have tried many options out there and have been amazed at how effective and fast the TShellz Wrap® treatment has helped in their recovery.
Increased Blood Flow Stimulates the Bodys' Ability to Heal
With regular use of the Plantar, Sesamoid and/or Achilles TShellz® Circulatory Boost Wrap:
- Your pain will be reduced*.
- Due to increased blood flow, soft tissue in the treatment area on the foot will be expected to recover at an accelerated rate with reduced potential for re-injury*.
- Tissue in the treated area should experience a larger range of motion and increased extensibility of collagen tissue* due to the heat effect on soft tissue. This should translate into a reduced rate of re-injury occurrence as soft tissue is known to lengthen and become more flexible when exposed to warm temperature. (*Chapter 9 of "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition. - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin)
*Know that every personal soft tissue injury is unique and the TShellz Wrap may not work for everyone. This is why we offer a 60-day money back return on all our TShellz Wrap devices.
When to use a TShellz Wrap®:
- After swelling and inflammation are reduced.
- BEFORE getting out of bed in the morning. BEFORE going to bed at night.
- BEFORE exercise, workouts or activity of any kind to warm up the foot and increase length & elasticity of muscles, ligaments & tendons at the base of the foot. Increased elasticity and length of soft tissue is intended to help reduce risk of of re-injury.
- AFTER surgery (once the skin wound has healed over and your physician approves) to boost blood circulation, helping surgically repaired tissues rebuild for long-term health and minimize scar tissue growth at the surgery location.
- Anytime BEFORE you feel you might undertake activity that will put significant strain on your foot.
- Any other situation where you need to increase blood flow to soft tissue in the foot to relax the area, relieve pain / spasms, prevent re-injury and enhance flexibility of tissue in the treatment area.
MendMeShop Achilles TShellz Wrap®
Suffering from Achilles Tendonitis? This wrap is designed to treat lower calf and achilles location specifically.
For consistently active people with chronic achilles injury history, (ie. skiers, runners) we recommend an Achilles TShellz Wrap treatment prior to activity for re-injury risk reduction.
MendMeShop Sesamoid TShellz Wrap®
This wrap is designed to:
- increase extensibility & flexibility of metatarsals/sesamoid/toe areas during treatment & for a short while after
- increase blood flow in the application area
- be used on the TOP or BOTTOM of the foot
MendMeShop Plantar TShellz Wrap®
Augment your recovery while reducing risk of re-injury. A Plantar TShellz application is intended to:
- increase extensibility & flexibility of bottom foot fascia during treatment & for a short while after
- increase blood flow in the application area
New Technology For The Best Therapy Available!
TShellz Wraps® are what we believe to be the most highly effective home medical devices out there - helping boost blood circulation, increase elasticity of soft tissue, reduce inflammation and minimize pain. It is a product we have developed specifically for this purpose. You can be certain it will do this, as we give full refunds if this is not the case.
The Energy Pad stimulates all the tissue beneath it evenly. The parts of your body that are healthy will rapidly respond with increased blood flow and there will be little sensation in that area. As your body continues to recover you'll also notice a decrease in pain and the range of motion in your foot should slowly start to improve. So not only does pain and inflammation go away, but with every treatment you can feel the difference - you can tell your injury is getting better.
TShellz Wraps®: Comfortable, Effective and Easy To Use
- TShellz Wraps® are very comfortable to wear. The shell is soft and very flexible. The edges are soft and will not irritate your skin.
- The Energy Pad within is also flexible like cloth so the entire unit conforms to your body.
- TShellz Wraps® are cut and sewn specifically to fit each part of the body so they fit comfortably. They come with velcro closures and are very easy to put on and take off.
- It is so easy to plug and un-plug you can stop and start your treatments with ease. This wrap is comfortable enough to wear all day long.
- The TShellz Wrap® is not affected by clothing. Wear it over or under - it is up to you.
TShellz Wraps® - Premium Quality, 100% Guaranteed!
Like all our products, TShellz Wraps® are high quality wraps you will find nowhere else. We have them for every part of the body. And, of course, we guarantee our wraps with the MendMeShop 60 day, money back guarantee. If you are not finding any improvement after using our TShellz product over a 60 day period, contact us for a full refund. We also provide a full year warranty on our TShellz Wrap® devices.
So, if you're really looking for an effective home therapy to treat torn or strained connective tissue; if you're looking to reduce inflammation, treat scar tissue, boost blood circulation and strengthen soft tissue, the TShellz Wrap® is what we recommend. We feel it is an exceptional home based approach to maximizing your soft tissue injury recovery process.
AidMyPlantar is committed to bringing you quality products for helping you relieve pain and boost blood flow to maximize your home recovery. These products are quickly revolutionizing the way the therapeutic industry thinks about soft tissue treatments and come highly recommended by our customers. If you have injured soft tissue that you want to deal with quickly, harness the power of your own body to heal itself and boost blood flow to the area, accelerating the body's own healing bio-mechanism.
Post Surgery Recovery
For Post-Surgery Recovery, cold is recommended by doctors to treat pain and swelling in a natural, non-addictive way.
After the incision site has healed, use our TShellz Wrap® home treatments to stimulate blood flow in the area. Using the TShellz Wrap® as soon as pain & swelling has reduced following your surgery will help minimize scar tissue growth that forms in soft tissue at the surgery site as you heal. Treating scar tissue is often one of the most important steps following surgery, especially the more invasive surgeries as they typically result in high growth levels of scar tissue. This is also why you should never skip phyical therapy appointments - their primary goal is to get you limber - much of the work in physical therapy is to break up scar tissue and get you mobile again; physical therapy is a crucial component in the recovery process.
Leaving post-surgery scar tissue untreated can lead to stiffness, chronic pain, osteoarthritis or other chronic conditions. You're more likely to end up with another injury if you choose not to deal with the scar tissue that develops in your soft tissue - this is why pretty much all post surgery recoveries involve physical therapy. The TShellz® Circulatory Boost Wrap encourages more oxygen and nutrients to flow to the area to help your body in its recovery process. An increase in blood flow should also help improve the strength of soft tissue in the area.
Our Formula is Proven to Work!
We are very confident our T•Shellz home therapy products will assist you in recovering from your injury by reducing your swelling and inflammation induced pain, maximizing blood flow where it's needed most and increasing the flexibility, range of motion in the area.
Here at AidMyPlantar we pride ourselves in helping you with your healing and recovery process. Everyone at AidMyPlantar has tested and used the products. Dedication to our customers and our products goes hand-in-hand with our guarantees to you as a customer:
- Guarantee #1 - Use your products diligently for up to 60 days and you will experience a significant reduction in pain. If not, I encourage you to send back the items for a 100% refund.
- Guarantee #2 - You will not be left in the dark after purchasing any products from us. AidMyPlantar Advisers and Product Specialists are available 7 days a week by toll free phone 1-866-237-9608 or email to answer your questions or concerns.
- Guarantee #3 - Your order is guaranteed to be shipped within 24 hours on every business day.
- Guarantee #4 - All purchases receive a one year, full replacement warranty with guaranteed, prompt service.
- Guarantee #5 - You could save hundreds of dollars and possibly more, by utilizing our products, and getting back to work sooner.
Yes, they are that good. See for yourself.
The TShellz Wraps® are FDA Registered Medical Devices, and are suitable for use in therapeutic clinics. Since they are completely safe for patients to use themselves as instructed, they are now available for use at home.
Once treatment is complete, you also have the option of tightening the straps to provide light compression support for your injured joint. You can also unplug the device from the power supply enabling you to move around the home, office or clinic freely and still use the wrap for support and comfort.
Product specialists are available 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time Monday to Friday.
If any question or concern arises, call us or simply send us an email at any time (we check our emails constantly all throughout the day and night.. even on holidays!). We will respond as soon as possible.
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Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. All testimonials and comments reflect the real life experiences of individuals that used our products, however, individual results may vary. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before using any of our outstanding products to make sure they are right for you and your condition or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition.
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1. Reducing Heel Pad. (2023) Heel Fat Pad Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment. Retrieved April 13, 2023, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23275-heel-fat-pad-syndrome