Ankle & Foot Physical Therapy

The foot and ankle is a complex system of bones, ligaments and muscles.

Ankle & Foot Physical Therapy

The foot and ankle is a complex system of bones, ligaments and muscles which all play important roles in providing structure and stability so that you may walk, run, twist, turn and jump. If any of those structures becomes weakened or compromised from acute injury, chronic overuse, mechanical deformity, or disease it can have a significant impact on day-to-day life and even predispose you to leg, knee, hip, and back pain.

The foot and ankle play a vital role in absorbing the weight of our bodies, and providing the ability to walk, run and jump. The average person takes 7500 steps a day (or more if you are active). It is therefore not surprising that about 75% of Americans experience some type of foot and ankle pain in the course of their life.

Common Causes of Ankle Pain

Tendinitis / Tendon Tear

Achilles and Peroneal Tendinitis are common injuries of the lower extremity. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and must endure a tremendous amount of repetitious stress throughout an average day. It has a comparatively poor blood supply which makes it even more susceptible to injury. The Peroneal Tendons are a group of 3 tendons along the outside of the leg and foot and largely responsible for stabilizing the ankle as well as moving it laterally.

Common Causes of Tendinopathy:

  • Aging or degeneration
  • Bone spur
  • Repetitive stress or overuse
  • Sudden increase in activity amount or intensity
  • Tight or inflexible calf muscles
  • Trauma
  • Overpronating (inward rolling of the foot)

Common Signs and Symptoms of Tendinopathy:

  • Irritation or inflammation
  • Morning pain
  • Pain or discomfort along the back of, or side of, the ankle.
  • Pain with new or increasing activity
  • Debilitation
  • Popping noise
  • Swelling along tendon
Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar faciitis is a painful condition that occurs when the long ligament on the bottom of the foot is strained, stressed, or torn.  It is one of the most common orthopedic injuries involving the foot. If not treat correctly the condition can become significantly debilitating and chronically reoccurring.

Common Causes of Plantar Fasciitis:

  • High arches or flat feet
  • Improperly fitting or worn out footwear
  • Overpronation (rolling in) of foot
  • Standing, walking or running for extended periods of time
  • Tight calf muscle or Achilles tendon
  • Being overweight or obese

Common Signs and Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis:

  • Pain along the arch of the foot often greatest near the heel:
    • -In the morning with the first few steps of the day, at the start of any activity then the pain goes away or lessens with warm up or with prolonged standing
  • Regional swelling and tenderness
Sprains
An accidental twist, an unexpected turn, or a sudden misstep can cause an ankle to give way. What happens is that the ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limit leading to tearing or rupturing. The result is an unstable ankle that becomes increasingly painful with activity.

Common Cause of Ankle Sprains:

  • Accident
  • Sports
  • Stretched or torn ligaments
  • Twisting, turning, rolling the foot
  • Uneven surfaces

Common Signs and Ankle Sprains:

  • Discoloration (bruising / redness)
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
Arthritis
98 percent of your body’s weight rests upon your feet. The forces imparted upon the 26 bones and 33 joints of the foot multiply many times over as we begin to walk and run as well as when we lift, push, and pull throughout the day.

Common Causes of Ankle / Foot Arthritis:

  • Aging
  • Cartilage wear-and-tear
  • Environmental factors
  • Fracture, injury or trauma
  • Triggers such as infection
  • Flat feet

Common Signs and Symptoms of Ankle / Foot Arthritis:

  • Balance issues
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Difficulty walking, moving, or bearing weight
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
Stress Fractures
Activity followed by pain that improves with rest but worsens when becoming active again. This is the injury cycle of a stress fracture. Caused by overload or overuse, stress fractures are common among athletes and sports enthusiasts.

Common Causes of Stress Fractures:

  • Changes in playing surface
  • Improper shoes or equipment
  • Overuse or overload of stress on the foot
  • Rapid increase in activity or intensity
  • Repetitive stress, especially from athletic activities like tennis, running, gymnastics

Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress Fractures:

  • Pain
  • Pain that subsides with rest

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