Designed for balance, agility, and propulsion, the ankle and foot are ever working to keep us functioning in our daily lives. Pain in this area is very common and can be detrimental to daily function. The foot and ankle have a wonderfully intricate design of finite bones and tendons in the forefoot which are framed closely to the largest and strongest tendon in the entire body in the hindfoot; the Achilles. Our Brisbane physios are here to help you with your foot and ankle pain.
Do you have Foot or Ankle Pain?
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As the foot and ankle are in continual demand, overuse injuries are commonplace. Overuse injuries such as tendinopathies or even stress reactions or fractures. Commonly seen in land-based sports and exercise involving running and jumping, tendinopathies involve tendon overloading as the name suggests. For example, the Achilles Tendon, like other tendons, is designed to handle load from performing a movement. However, tendons can be fussy structures as they do not respond well to great increases in load too quickly and they also do not respond well to unfamiliar repetitive high loads. For the person who enjoys going on the occasional hike or run, this can represent enough of a change in load to irritate that fussy Achilles. For the athlete returning to play after an offseason with less-than-ideal training, this can cause the same issue.
The anatomy of the ankle involves interplay predominantly between the lower end of the Tibia (shin bone), Fibula (smaller bone on outside of tibia in lower leg and the dome-shaped Talus which sits directly below the Tibia to create a saddle type joint allowing for the pointing and lifting of the foot. This downward and upward movement is obviously not the only movement available at the ankle as the ankle can roll inward and outward, useful for maintain balance and changing direction. Stability is an important for a joint with multi-directional capabilities thus the ankle has a wide array of fibrous ligaments for support.
Acute injuries of the ankle and foot are also prevalent in athletics involving rapid changes of direction as on a soccer pitch, having a heavy body land on a plantarflexed foot during a rugby tackle or during jumping and sticking a landing as on a netball court. These sporting situations increase the chances for fracture, ligament sprain or tendon strain. Not only in the sporting environment, but also in less complex situations such as climbing stairs rolling an ankle and jeopardizing the integrity of the ankle ligaments is a common acute injury and source of pain. Most often affected ligaments of the foot and ankle from a sprain are the AFTL (Anterior Talo-Fibular Ligament) and the CFL (Calcaneo-fibular Ligament) both found in the outer mid foot and ankle. This mechanism of rolling the ankle is called an Eversion Sprain; meaning the sole of the foot is pulled toward the middle beyond the resistance capability of the ligaments. Severity of the sprain can vary, but in more serious cases can be accompanied by tendon strains or avulsion fractures.
Some common acute or traumatic foot & ankle injuries may include:
- Ankle sprain
- Avulsion fracture
- Syndesmosis Injury
- Lisfranc Injury
- Plantar Fasciitis - Fasciopathy - Acute onset plantar heel pain
- Fat Pad Contusion
- Navicular Stress fracture
- Talar Stress Fracture
- Talar Dome Chondral Lesion
- Jones’ Fracture (Base of 5th Metatarsal Fracture)
Some common atraumatic (non-traumatic) causes of foot & ankle pain may include:
- Achilles Tendinopathy
- Tibialis Posterior Tendinopathy
- Flexor Hallucis Longus Tendinopathy
- Plantar Fasciitis (Fasciopathy)
- Retrocalcaneal bursitis
- Nerve Entrapment
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Sever’s Disease
- Complex regional pain syndrome
What can I do about my foot & ankle pain? Tips and general Information:
- If you have rolled your ankle, you can try using the P.O.L.I.C.E. method. Protect, optimal loading, ice, compress, elevate. Protecting and optimal loading can help to reduce further injury to the injured tissues, while ice, compression and elevation can help to reduce swelling and manage pain.
- If you are unable to weight-bear through the injured foot, you should seek advice from your PhysioTec Physiotherapist for the right method of management.
- Gentle ankle range-of-motion exercises; circles and left/right/up/down can help to relieve feelings of muscle tension and stiffness.
- Gentle strength exercise such as calf-raises; lifting heels off the floor while staying balanced holding onto a chair or counter-top can improve ankle and foot health.
How can a Brisbane physio help my foot & ankle pain?
PhysioTec is your choice for physiotherapy in Brisbane for foot and ankle pain and injury. There are many potential options for management depending on your condition and your personal needs and goals. Physiotherapy for foot and ankle pain at PhysioTec may include:
- A thorough patient interview and physical assessment
- An evaluation of possible underlying causes, particularly important for long standing or recurrent conditions (Please book a 1 hour session)
- Education and personalised advice about how to best manage your foot or ankle condition and speed your recovery
- A tailored and progressive exercise program, including video-based exercises on a free App and/or colour photographs and typed text instructions
- Progressive balance and dynamic stability training with sport specific skills training
- Real time ultrasound assessment and training of intrinsic foot muscles
- Taping and bracing
1. Is my foot and ankle pain coming from my back?
Nerve related pain from the lumbar spine or sciatic nerve can refer to the foot and ankle. Pain associated with nerve involvement is often associated with symptoms of ‘pins and needles’, ‘buzzing’ or ‘numbness’. For advice on ankle and foot nerve pain speak to your PhysioTec physiotherapist for the best rehabilitation management approach for you.
2. How do I relieve pain for Plantar Fasciitis?
Pain from plantar fasciitis (now referred to as plantar fasciopathy or plantar heel pain) can be slow to reduce sometimes taking months to fully resolve. Effective methods of management can be calf strengthening, intrinsic foot muscle strengthening, icing and massaging the sole of the foot and stretching the fascia. In addition, if you have recently gained weight, this could be a contributing factor to your plantar fascia pain. A useful tip is also to slip your feet into a soft pair of slides first thing in the morning and avoid standing for prolonged periods and walking barefoot on hard floors.
3. Is it ok to walk with Ankle Osteoarthritis?
Signs of arthritis are joint stiffness, usually greater in the morning, tenderness to touch, or putting pressure through. However, movement for arthritic joints is important. You may try preparing your feet and ankles prior to walking by doing some gentle seated exercises such as calf raises and ankle circles to warm up prior to walking. Also, you may try walking in shorter bouts with planned rest breaks along the way as needed.
Our Brisbane Physiotherapy Clinic, services areas including: Brisbane, Tarragindi, Mount Gravatt, Holland Park, Rocklea, Yeronga, Annerley, Camp Hill, Carindale, Coorparoo, Salisbury, Sunnybank, Greenslopes, Seven Hills, Acacia Ridge, Indooroopilly, Woolloongabba, etc.
Because of our expertise in hip conditions, dance injuries and performance, and hypermobility, we also have people visiting us from all over Queensland, Australia and even international visitors. We also have a telehealth service for remote patients.
23 Weller Rd, Tarragindi QLD 4121, Australia
📞 Ph (07) 3342 4284 Fax (07) 3342 4204
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