Foot & Ankle Pain

 
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Causes:

The foot and ankle are incredibly tough and durable joints. We spend our entire lives standing, walking, running and jumping on them and many of us won’t experience any foot pain at all. Foot pain is usually more a result of footwear, joint sprains/injuries through accidents or sports, excessive repetitive stress or through systemic problems (symptoms of pins and needles, cold or numb feet).

Majority of sports people and athletes will have twisted or sprained their ankle at least once in their careers. Rapidly changing direction with the foot planted on the floor is often a cause for ankle sprain; other causes include slipping on stairs or pavement edges or even catching your foot on the floor or steps.

More often than not it is a ligament strain and not so much actual bone/joint surface irritation as seen in knee pain, hip pain, or shoulder pain.

Repetitive stress often causes compression of the blood vessels, nerves and small bones of the feet and toes. This is often seen in shoes that are too tight ranging from walking boots through to high heels.

Symptoms:

Dull ache middle/outer ankle

Pain pulling the toes up or pointing the toes down

Tripping on pavements/stairs/doorways

Difficulty going up or down stairs

Tight calf muscles

Pain between the toes

Sharp, needle like pain under the foot during first steps in the morning

Pins and needles or numbness in the toes or foot

Cramping of the toes or feet

 
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Treatment:

After assessment of the knee, hip and spinal function and in-depth assessment of the joints and ligaments of the ankle and feet will indicate the relevant tissues in need of treatment.

As mentioned above, the joints of the feet and ankles are very strong and so treatment techniques will include osteopathic mobilisation and manipulation to help increase mobility. Soft and deep tissue techniques will be used to address muscle strains and imbalances in the calves, shin and feet muscles.

Muscle contraction and relaxation techniques may be used to over-ride muscle strains and spasms deep within muscle groups.

Specific strengthening and stretching exercises may also be given to address above-mentioned imbalances in tightness and weakness.

Balance related exercises may be required to rehab the joint back to proper function and stability if ligament injury is identified.

Management:

It is often most useful for patients with foot or ankle problems to maintain their exercise regime and any additional advice I have offered regarding the biomechanics of the foot and ankle.

Hydrotherapy can make great impacts on any swelling or inflammation and also improve healing of older injuries.

Systemic problems that affect the nerves and blood supply to the feet will be screened during the case history and examination aspects of the consultation. If these appear to be a factor in the patients’ problem then further referral to their GP will be advised.