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Toe, Foot, and Ankle Problems, Noninjury

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Home Treatment

Most minor toe, foot, or ankle problems go away on their own. Home treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve your pain, swelling, and stiffness.

  • If you have swelling, be sure to remove all rings camera.gif, anklets, or any other jewelry that goes around your leg or ankle. It will be harder to remove your jewelry if swelling increases, which in turn can cause other serious problems, such as nerve compression or restricted blood flow.
  • Use rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) for pain and swelling.
  • Stop, change, or take a break from any activities that cause your symptoms.
    • Avoid "running through the pain," which may increase damage to your foot.
    • Consider changing your exercise routine if you think running or another high-impact sport is causing your foot pain. Switch temporarily to a low-impact exercise activity, such as cross-country skiing, stair-climbing machines, bicycling (regular or stationary), rowing, or swimming.
    • Use sensible sports training techniques, such as wearing the right shoes and stretching before activities.
  • Gently massage your feet to reduce discomfort, relax your feet, and promote circulation.
  • Wear comfortable and supportive shoes and socks. See tips on good footwear to learn how to choose the right shoes for you.
  • Consider using an orthotic shoe device, such as an arch support, to help relieve your foot pain.
  • Try heel-cord exercises to increase your strength and flexibility if your heel or heel cord (Achilles tendon) is tight and painful. This may help relieve your heel pain.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your pain:

Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

Safety tips
Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
  • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
  • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 01, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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