Preventing Pulled Muscles In Feet: An Essential Guide for Active Aussies‍

Dec 29, 2023

australian running outside

Foot health is a topic that cannot be overemphasised. Our feet, often overlooked, bear our weight, take us places, and are integral to our overall health and well-being.

For Australians, especially those leading an active lifestyle on the Sunshine Coast, taking care of their feet becomes even more significant. Australia's sunny climate and our love for outdoor activities make foot care a relevant topic. If you suspect you've pulled a muscle in your foot and are wondering if you can recover at home or whether professional help is needed, read on.

Can You Pull A Muscle In Your Foot?

Yes, there are 29 muscles associated with the foot and ankle and they can indeed be strained. Before we delve into prevention, it's essential to understand what muscle strain in the feet entails. A muscle strain, also known as a pulled muscle, occurs when your muscle is overstretched or torn. This usually happens due to overuse, improper use, or trauma.

In the context of feet, muscle strain can be caused by various factors such as overexertion during physical activity, walking or running on uneven surfaces, wearing inappropriate footwear, or even long periods of standing. Symptoms often include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty in moving the affected foot.

Aussies And Our Feet

Foot problems are pretty common among Australians. According to a study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, about 1.75 million Australians reported having foot problems in 2020.

The Australian climate and lifestyle play a significant role in this. The warm climate means Australians often opt for open-toed and less supportive footwear like thongs and sandals. While these are great for keeping cool, they offer less protection and support for your feet, making them more susceptible to strain. Additionally, Aussies love their outdoor activities - from surfing to hiking or even just a coastal jog - all of these can put additional pressure on the feet.

How Long Does A Pulled Muscle In Your Feet Take To Heal?

In the realm of foot injuries, it is a common occurrence for minor-to-moderate injuries to heal within a relatively short timeframe, typically ranging from 2 to 4 weeks. These types of injuries often encompass sprains, strains, or mild fractures that can be effectively managed through rest and conservative treatment measures.

However, when confronted with more severe foot injuries that necessitate the use of a cast or boot for immobilisation purposes, patients must prepare themselves for an extended healing process. In such cases, the recovery period may extend anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks in order to allow for proper bone regeneration and ligament restoration.

Yet even these prolonged timeframes pale in comparison to the most severe foot injuries that demand surgical intervention as part of their treatment plan. Herein lies the ultimate path towards healing: surgery serves as a means to realign fractured bones and facilitate optimal conditions for ligaments to mend. While this type of injury carries significant challenges and requires dedicated rehabilitation efforts post-surgery, it ultimately offers individuals hope in reclaiming their mobility and achieving long-term recovery.

How to Avoid Foot Muscle Strain

Preventing foot muscle strain primarily involves taking good care of your feet. Here's how:

  1. Proper Footwear
    In order to prevent foot muscle strain, it is crucial to prioritise proper footwear. Ill-fitting shoes can be one of the main culprits behind this type of injury. To ensure optimal foot health, it is essential that your shoes are the correct size and provide adequate support.
    Additionally, they should have enough room for your toes to move comfortably and be suitable for the specific activity you will be engaging in. For example, if you plan on hiking, investing in supportive and well-fitted hiking boots is imperative.
  2. Less Time In Sandals & Thongs
    For active Aussies looking to avoid foot muscle strain, it is advisable to limit the amount of time spent wearing thongs (flip flops) and sandals. While these types of footwear may be comfortable for short periods or during casual outings, they lack sufficient support for extended periods of standing or physical activity. Especially if you're a fan of trail running or hiking on uneven ground.
    Opt instead for more supportive options such as athletic shoes or trainers that can properly support your foot and ankle, ensuring an even gait.
  3. Strengthen Your Feet And Ankles
    Apart from choosing appropriate footwear, incorporating regular foot exercises and stretches into your routine can also play a vital role in preventing foot muscle strain. These exercises not only strengthen the muscles in your feet but also increase flexibility and improve balance – all factors that contribute to reducing the risk of strain.
    Simple yet effective exercises like toe curls, heel raises, and ankle rolls can make a significant difference when performed consistently.
  4. Healthy Weight
    Furthermore, maintaining a healthy weight can significantly alleviate pressure exerted on your feet and subsequently decrease the chances of experiencing muscle strain.

When To Seek Professional Help

While prevention is the best approach, it's crucial to seek professional help when you experience persistent foot pain or symptoms of muscle strain or if your injury hasn't healed after a few weeks. A qualified podiatrist can diagnose and treat foot problems effectively.

Australian podiatrists like us at Dan Everson Podiatry offer a range of services from general foot care to advanced treatments. They can provide personalised advice based on your lifestyle and needs to aid in recovery and prevent future injuries.

If you're based on the Sunshine Coast or in Brisbane, you might want to speak to a member of our team here at Dan Everson Podiatry. We are a team of experienced podiatrists with clinics in Caloundra, Taringa, Deception Bay, Maroochydore, Nambour, and Noosa. If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment at one of our podiatry clinics, then simply contact us today.

While a pulled muscle is a common issue among Australians, especially those leading an active lifestyle, it can be effectively prevented.

All it takes is proper footwear, regular foot exercises, maintaining a healthy weight, and seeking professional care when necessary. Remember, our feet are our foundation - let's take good care of them!n