An ankle sprain is the most common cause of ankle pain and the most common injury for the ankle. An inversion ankle sprain is the most common and is done by rolling the ankle inwards and hurting the outside of the ankle. Less common are eversion ankle sprains, rolling the ankle outwards, and high ankle sprains, damaging the lower leg between the tibia and fibula. An ankle sprain is classified as stretching or tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle joint. Typical recovery can be from days or up to 6-8 weeks depending on the severity.
Ankle sprains may be accompanied by swelling or bruising throughout the ankle and the foot. Allowing for healing of the ligaments and reducing the inflammation of the area is important for recovery following ankle sprains.
Proper physical therapy and recovery following an ankle sprain is important since recurring ankle sprains can happen up to 80% after the first one in high risk sporting activities. Continued ankle sprains can lead to chronic ankle instability which can lead to lifelong ankle pain and problems.
Shin splints are pain caused by overuse along the shinbone, the large front bone in the lower leg. Shin splints result when muscles, tendons, and bone tissue become overworked or overutilized
True shin splints are microfractures of the shin bone which are uncommon. More commonly shin splints are musculature in nature.
Shin splints are very common with athletes who change their workout plan and with people who have recently increased their running capacity, changed the surface that they train on, or changed the footwear that they were running in.
Physical therapy to improve running mechanics, reduce overactive muscle activation, and reduce inflammation are good first steps to improving shin splints.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot.
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you get up and move, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting.
Plantar fasciitis is more common in runners, people who are overweight, and those who wear shoes with inadequate support also have an increased risk of plantar fasciitis.
Short term relief may be achieved by rolling out the bottom of the foot with a ball and doing an ice massage. A stretching and mobilization protocol is needed to reduce pressure and tension on the plantar fascia. Additional relief may be achieved by using a night splint to keep the fascia in a stretched position as you sleep to reduce morning pain.
Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury of the Achilles, located just above the heel, where the calf muscle attaches to the back of the foot.
Achilles tendonitis is usually aggravated by touch, with stretching, and with activities such as running and jumping. Achilles tendonitis is progressive in nature and will usually begin as a dull ache and will progress to a sharp pain.
If managed correctly, the inflammation will reduce and the pain will go away. As Achilles tendonitis progresses, the Achilles will begin to weaken and will be at an increased risk for rupture or more serious injury.
Activity management, stretching and reducing inflammation followed by a strengthening protocol is proper management for a full recovery from Achilles tendonitis.
Ankle fractures are among the most common of the bone and joint injuries. Often, the degree of pain, the inability to walk, or concern that a bone may be broken is what might cause you to seek care in an emergency situation. An ankle fracture is usually associated with swelling and bruising throughout the ankle and the foot.
An ankle fracture will usually be treated with 6 weeks of immobilization through a brace or a boot followed by re-introduction of weight bearing, improving the range of motion and re-gaining the strength. Additional sports specific rehabilitation may be required to reintroduce higher levels of physical activities.
A bunionectomy is a surgery required due to a condition called hallux valgus; where the big toe begins to point inward towards the other toes. This is a physical deformity of the bone of the big toe. Early interventions include bracing and splinting to reduce the progression of hallux valgus while an advanced case will require surgery to reset the bone of the big toe to straighten it out.
Following the surgery, pain throughout the big toe may persist as well as limitations in the range of motion and the inability to place weight on the toe.
Physical therapy to improve joint mobility, the range of motion, reduce inflammation, and re-integrate weight bearing with walking to return to a normal functional lifestyle.
Flat feet are when the arches on the inside of your feet are flattened, allowing the entire soles of your feet to touch the floor when you stand up. A common and usually painless condition, flat feet can occur when the arches don’t develop during childhood. Pain may get worse as the condition progresses.
Flat feet can lead to additional issues such as plantar fasciitis and additional heel pain. More pressing, walking with flat feet can cause pain and issues further up the chain in the back, hip, or knee and can put these joints at further risk for injury.
Proper footwear, orthotics, utilization of foot levelers, and strengthening of foot muscles are important to reduce flat feet.