The foot and ankle provide both stability and mobility for the body. They act as a base for upright posture, and absorb the shock from the ground during upright walking and running. These joints also provide flexibility to allow walking over uneven surfaces. Since these joints are so important to everyday mobility, if injured, they can affect the entire body. Listed below are some common foot and ankle problems treated at Rochester Sports and Physical Therapy:
- Ankle (ligament) Sprain. This occurs when a ligament within the ankle joint is overstretched; typically seen when someone ‘twists’ their ankle.
- Ankle Fracture. Break of an ankle bone cause by trauma, such as a fall. Sometimes, the orthopedic surgeon will put a cast on your ankle and sometimes the surgeon will need to do an operation to set the bones. This is completely up to the expertise of the surgeon.
- Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is characterized by pain on the heel due to inflammation and straining of the plantar fascia, the thick, tough covering at the bottom of the foot. Some of the reasons for developing plantar fasciitis are participating in high impact activities or wearing inappropriate footwear. A foot spur may be produced. This can be determined by a doctor taking an x-ray of the heel. The heel spur may be inflamed and tender to touch.
- Achilles Tendonitis. Inflammation and pain in the tendon that attaches to the back of your heel are typical. It is often due to repetitive activities such as jumping or jogging.
- Posterior Tibialis Tendonitis. This is caused by inflammation of the tendon that inserts into the arch of the foot. Sometimes, the pain is also along the inside of the shin bone.
- Surgical Procedures. After surgery, the doctor will typically ‘immobilize’ the ankle with either a cast or a boot. During the healing process, the ankle can become stiff and weak. Rehabilitation, as directed by the surgeon, can get the ankle moving and patient walking again.
Evaluation, Treatment, and Prevention
- When coming to Rochester Sports and Physical Therapy for foot and ankle pain, the licensed physical therapists will perform a thorough evaluation to determine the cause of pain. The therapist will identify the factors that contribute to the pain such as muscle imbalances, postural stress, and faulty movement patterns.
- The first goal of treatment is to reduce pain. Modalities such as heat, ice, ultrasound, electric stimulation, phonoporesis, and inotophoresis can assist in decreasing inflammation and pain. The therapist may also use manual therapies, such as massage, joint mobilization and traction to decrease pain and return function.
- In order to relieve foot and ankle pain, it is important to learn specific exercises and stretches that address muscle imbalances and correct faulty movement patterns. Not only will exercises and stretches help to relieve pain, but the knowledge of the techniques learned at Rochester Sports and Physical therapy will help the patient to prevent additional problems in the future. Each of our patients receives an individual home exercise program so they can continue to improve after they are finished with therapy. This empowers them to be responsible for the health of their bodies.