Foot and Ankle Pain

What causes foot and ankle pain?

The pressure from our body’s weight being carried over a relatively small base of support can become too much to handle at times. There are several sensitive areas in our feet like nerves and ligaments. Nerves may become compressed, ligaments tear, and bursa become inflamed. Then there are tendons that over stretch, fascia that gets irritated, and joints can rub the wrong way.

  • Bad fitting footwear
  • Poor support from footwear
  • Flat feet
  • Over activity or new activity
  • Injury
  • Weight gain

Any of these can cause foot or ankle pain. When pain strikes one foot or ankle, it leaves a person with only one good leg to stand on. Since our bodies figure out how to compensate with one functioning lower limb, it can eventually become a site of new injury from overuse or change in walking pattern.

What are symptoms of foot and ankle pain?

Pain is the typical complaint we hear about in Physical Therapy. The location of the pain can tell what part of the foot and ankle could be causing it. In some instances, clients may report pain in the:

  • Heel
  • Big toe
  • Ball of foot
  • Top of the foot
  • Back of the heel cord
  • Front of the ankle
  • Inside of the ankle
  • Outside of the ankle

Other symptoms may include:

  • Numbness in the foot
  • Tingling in the toes
  • Burning in the arch
  • Sensation of “stepping on glass”

What helps relieve foot and ankle pain?

Physical Therapy is a great way to learn how to relieve your foot and ankle pain. Some of the starting suggestions begin with taking pressure off the feet. Sitting down, taking off the shoes, and elevating the legs can improve circulation. It will give the small muscles and ligaments a rest from activity.

Knowing what is causing the problem will make it easier to treat the problem in the right place using the right tools. Inflammation from tendinitis, bursitis and Plantar Fasciitis can improve with using a cold pack. Epsom salt baths are a popular home remedy that can be enhanced with soothing essential oils like eucalyptus.

Wearing the proper footwear makes a difference. A major threat to foot and ankle health are flip flop sandals. There is not enough support to wear for walking distances greater than from the shower to the bedroom.

How can My PT relieve my foot and ankle pain?

We provide education about the diagnosis we believe you have. Part of the education includes how to prevent the symptoms from getting worse, ways to promote healing, and how to restore your physical function. Below is a list of conditions we see most often.

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Sprained Ankle
  • Calcaneal Bursitis
  • Achilles Tendintis
  • Bunions
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Sesmoiditis
  • Fallen Arches
  • Shin Splints
  • Posterior Tibialis Tendon Syndrome
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Arthritis

What are some Physical Therapy treatments that could help?

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