Ankle and foot disorders and pain
Foot and ankle injuries are some of the most common, especially among athletes. In addition to being fairly common injuries, they are also incredibly debilitating, as we need our feet and ankles in order to walk and perform everyday activities. Thankfully, there are numerous helpful rehabilitation programs in place that are designed specifically to remedy foot and ankle issues.
Ankle sprains are a common occurrence amongst active people and can occur with running, walking on uneven surfaces, or even jumping. Most often, the injury happens when the foot twists inward and the ligaments on the outside of the ankle are stretched or torn. Research shows up to 80% of people who suffer from a sprained ankle will endure re-injury at some point in the future. Other common foot ankle injuries include Achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis
Physical therapy is one of the most widely used and respected types of rehabilitation for foot and ankle injuries and ailments, such as plantar fasciitis, turf toe, and foot/ankle stress fractures. These programs emphasize the use of therapeutic, focused exercises that are designed to restore joint range of motion, muscle strength, neuromuscular coordination, and gait mechanics, to name a few.
Over the years, physical therapy has proven to be a very effective form of rehabilitation and has helped millions of patients suffering from foot and ankle issues get back on their feet, quite literally. For numerous different reasons, the ankle and foot are a couple of the most common areas that see both chronic and acute pain in athletes and physically active people. When an injury occurs to the foot or ankle, the individual undoubtedly experiences limits to how well they can run, jump, and even walk.
Common Types of Foot and Ankle Problems
Before we look at how physical therapy can help various foot and ankle problems, let’s go over some of the most common types of injuries and issues associated with these two body parts:
- Turf Toe – This occurs when an individual sustains a sprain to the ligaments of the big toe joint. It is quite common among professional athletes.
- Plantar Fasciitis – When there is a strain of the flat band of the tissue connecting a person’s heel bones to their toes, it is known as plantar fascitis. People dealing with this affliction complain of heel pain due to the band (known as the plantar fascia) becoming weak, swollen, or otherwise irritated.
- Bunion – This is a bony bump that is found at the base of the big toe joint. It causes the big toe to turn towards the second toe, resulting in both pain and discomfort
- Achilles Tendonitis – This occurs when the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed
- Achilles Rupture – When the Achilles tendon is separated or tears, it is considered an Achilles rupture. This typically happens due to a sudden, forceful action in the calf area.
- Broken Ankle – This is when one or more of the bones in the ankle is broken.
- Metatarsalgia – When someone is experiencing pain and inflammation in the forefoot – usually due to overuse – it is considered metatarsalgia.
- Foot and Ankle Stress Fractures – Stress fractures are tiny breaks in the bone that usually occur because of repetitive stress to the area.
- Arthritis and DJD.
How Physical Therapy Can Help
Physical therapy can help improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion, all while targeting certain muscles. In addition to correcting problems from sports and overuse injuries, physical therapy can also address problems related to recovery from foot or ankle surgery. The regimen you will undergo for your foot and ankle injury will depend on your specific problem and your doctor’s recommendations.
At iMOVE, we utilize a combination of manual therapy techniques and exercises to deliver our patients restoration of their normal lives. Our treatment process focuses on reducing the pain and swelling in the ankle for the short term. We utilize soft tissue and joint mobilizations to restore proper joint mechanics and muscle activation.
Our therapists go beyond the injury and to the root of the problem. For example, ankle sprains are likely a result of hip and lower back weakness, paired with poor stability of the ankle. As patients improve, PT Solutions emphasizes the strength and stability of the entire lower half of the body to promote function and reduce the risk of re-injury.
Manual therapy is used to decrease pain and improve the mobility of the foot and ankle. This approach uses a combination of manipulation/mobilization techniques of the involved and surrounding joint and soft tissue. Restoring proper mobility is vital for all weight-bearing movements and activities.