Foot and Ankle Pain

To quote my wife’s grandfather “You don’t walk on your face!” We all spend money on making our faces look good with creams, lotions, makeup and razors, but often forget about our feet. When your feet are painful life isn’t good.

Clients often report problems when getting up in the morning or after periods of inactivity, walking, running or climbing stairs. Numbness or tingling can be present and are often due to a nerve locally or higher up in the pelvic or spine.

Problems in the feet often contribute to pains in other areas such as the knee or hip with many being related to biomechanical inefficiencies or muscle weakness. Common foot & ankle problems can include;

• Sprained ankle / instability. This is one of the most common sports injuries. The normal consequence of spraining your ankle is injury to the ligaments and tendons on the outer side. Initial treatment should be RICE – Rest Ice Compression Elevation. Try to begin simple up/down movement as you are able to. If the balance and strength of lower leg muscles doesn’t improve the problem can keep occurring, so get it sorted!

• Plantarfasciitis (or plantarfasciosis). The plantar fascia is a piece of connective tissue that runs from the heel bone to the base of each of the toes under the ball of your foot. The traditional presentation is of pain felt under the heel first thing in the morning, for the first few steps after having been sat down, and on prolonged walking. If you have had it for longer than 8 weeks it unlikely to be inflammatory and an ‘itis’, but more like an ‘osis’.

• Achilles Tendinitis/tendinopathy. This can be acute or chronic. Often a ‘lump’ or swelling can be felt in the tendon. Check out our tendinopathy page for more info.
• Shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome is a problem that often has some contribution from what is going on higher up the kinetic chain (hips and core) and/or lower down in your feet. It can be helped with some simple manual treatment, taping and modifications to footwear or correction of training faults.

• Morton’s neuroma is a term which describes irritation of a nerve that supplies to the second and third toes with sensation. It is often due to persistent squeezing of the toes

• Pronation is the term for flattening of the arches on the inner part of the foot. Excessive pronation can often lead to pain as your bodyweight then gets distributed differently leading to foot or ankle pain. Good support and rehabilitation can help this, (we have good links with local expert biomechanical Podiatry services.) Check out our runners page for more information.

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