FOOT AND ANKLE PAIN
What is foot & ankle pain?
- Most people suffering from foot and ankle pain complain that the pain’s origin is from their heel and so it is considered the most common reason for foot and ankle pain.
- There are 2 main areas where the pain will occur, at the back surface of the heel and the under surface of the foot called the plantar surface.
- While painful foot and ankle conditions may not cause disability or generate severe pain, it can impact a person’s ability to walk, stand, or perform any form of running activities.
- Depending on the severity and cause of the pain treatments can give relief instantly and in more extreme cases physical therapy or surgery.
What are the symptoms of foot & ankle pain?
The signs and symptoms of foot and ankle pain include:
- A pain that originates from the underside of the heel which is then extended to the arch of the foot
- Stiffness in the back of the ankle near the heel, especially when bearing weight and walking
- There may also be mild swelling along the tendon
- A stabbing or aching sensation in the foot
- As the inflamed plantar fascia (arch of the foot) is most likely to tighten at night, the pain is typically at its worst when you first wake up in the morning before it is loosened by stretching and walking.
- In the case where stretching and walking causes the pain to worsen seek medical attention.
- Heel spurs which are bony-like growths between the heel and arch of the foot that is a result of a calcium deposit. This symptom can be present but not cause pain as between 30 and 40 percent of the general population have heel spurs and do not experience any pain.
Who is at risk of foot & ankle pain?
Anyone can be at risk of foot or ankle pain as it can be a result of an awkward landing or through daily wear and tear.
Some factors can increase the chance that an individual will suffer from foot and ankle pain such as:
- Excessive exercise which will cause strain on the muscles and tendons in the foot
- If an individual is overweight, they will put more pressure on their feet as they perform daily tasks which can lead to increased pain
- As your age increases you can be affected by conditions such as osteoarthritis which can cause aches and pains in commonly used bones and joints
- If you do not exercise at all you will have no strength in the muscles and tendons in your foot which give the foot strength and support
What are the treatments of foot & ankle pain?
There are a wide variety of treatments available for those who are suffering from foot and ankle pain, these include:
- Self-care treatment – most minor foot and ankle pain can be treated through rest and recovery, remember R.I.C.E. which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation
- Over the counter medication – medication such as ibuprofen and paracetamol are commonly used to relieve pain in many forms.
- Getting supportive inner soles or orthotics can help in relieving the strain put on your foot or ankle
- Physical therapy such as stretching your foot may help to relieve the tension in your tendons
- Wearing a walking boot for 3 – 6 weeks will help in supporting the foot and ankle
- Surgery is very rarely recommended in the treatment of foot and ankle pain but may be required in extreme cases such as broken bones in the foot due to injury
- Injections, nerve blocks and pulsed radiofrequency neurotomy as well as more advanced treatments such as Dorsal Root Ganglion blocks, RFA and DRG stimulators.
Ankle Pain – When to see a Doctor – Mayo Clinic
Foot Pain – When to see a Doctor – Mayo Clinic
Foot and Heel Pain Overview – Cleveland Clinic