Foot and ankle pain
The ankle and the foot are made up of many small bones, connected by ligaments, muscles and fascia. This helps to make them strong, flexible and stable, which is a ideal for what we need them to do.
Some of the most common things we see in clinic affecting the foot and ankle are:
Flat feet– this occurs when the arch, which supports the inner side of the foot flattens. The foot, as a consequence, then tends to flatten. This can often be seen by the pattern of wear and tear on your shoes. Over a period of time, having flat feet can lead to damage to your foot and ankle joint, as there is uneven strain and stress on the joints, muscles and tendons. It can also lead to shin and calf muscle pain. Symptoms may include pain, swelling and stiffness.
Plantar fasciitis– the plantar fascia is a tough band of fibrous tissue that supports the arches of your feet and runs underneath your foot. In this condition there is pain and inflammation of this fascia. The pain is commonly felt under the heel and instep of the foot. It tends to be worse 1st thing in the morning, when standing for long periods, or doing a lot of walking, especially with poor footwear.
Sprained ankle-normally this occurs when you twist or go-over on your ankle. It tends to affect the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Symptoms include swelling, bruising, stiffness,pain and instability.
Achilles pain– the Achilles tendon is the main tendon formed at the end of your calf muscles as they attach onto the back of the heel bone. The Achilles tendon may become swollen and painful from overuse and friction, common in sports and poorly fitting shoes.
The role of the osteopath is to assess the cause of your pain and to look at the muscles and joints of the rest of your lower limb and back to see how these may be influencing your condition.
Treatment may involve techniques such as massage, manipulation, stretching, exercise based rehabilitation and ultrasound.
Your osteopath may also suggest hot/cold treatments, footwear changes, chiropody, podiatry and may refer you for x-rays of further tests if needed.