The Foot and Ankle

The foot is often considered a mobile adaptor, beginning when the foot hits the ground, and then changes to a rigid lever, as the push off phase begins. While the static structures of the foot provide some support and stability, the dynamic actions of muscles play a greater role in the resulting motions at the foot and ankle. Any alteration of the complex series of movements can cause increased stress on the lower extremity structures.

The ankle joint is comprised of the two lower leg bones and their articulation to the foot. Because of the unique shape of these bones, the outside lower leg bones extends farther than the inside lower leg bone. This anatomic difference leaves the ankle susceptible to injury.

What Causes Foot and Ankle Pain?

Foot pain is most often associated with:

  • Trauma
  • Disease
  • Poor biomechanical alignment
  • Wearing high-heeled shoes or shoes that are too tight

Ankle pain is most often caused by one of three conditions:

  • Sprain
  • Fracture
  • Tendinitis/Tendinosis

You are most at risk for foot and/or ankle pain if you:

  • Have a history of soft tissue trauma at the ankle or foot
  • Have flat feet or abnormally rigid arches
  • Perform repetitive running in athletic pursuits or work tasks
  • Wear unsupportive footwear for athletic pursuits or manual work tasks
  • Have weak and/or tight lower body musculature
  • Begin a sudden increase in training or new vigorous impact training

Common Foot and Ankle Conditions

Our Physical Therapists will develop a customized treatment plan to relieve your ankle and/or foot pain and restore mobility. The most common ankle and foot injuries that are effectively treated with physical therapy are:

  • Ankle Sprain
  • Tendinitis/Tendinosis
  • Shin Splints
  • Plantar Fasciitis/Fasciosis

Treatment Options

Our team of Physical Therapists treats patients using evidence-based treatment techniques that speed recovery time while reducing the risk of the recurrence of ankle or foot pain:

  • Manual therapy to decrease pain, increase range of motion, and improve function
  • Therapeutic exercises to strengthen upper and lower leg as well as intrinsic foot muscles to improve gait pattern
  • Functional exercises that are tailored to your activity level
  • Self-management education to reduce chance of recurrence

Common Ankle and Foot Surgeries

Some ankle and foot conditions do not respond to physical therapy alone. In these instances, surgery is required and physical therapy is a follow-up treatment strategy. The most common surgeries are:

  • Ligament Reconstruction
  • Tendon Repair (Achilles, Posterior Tibialis, Peroneals)

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