The ankle is a hinge joint between the Tibia and Fibula bones of your lower leg and the Talus bone of the foot. Unlike the shoulder, a ball and socket joint that allows circular motion, the ankle joint only allows movement in one plane, thus the name hinge joint like the hinge of a door. Movement of the foot through the ankle is referred to as plantarflexion, pointing the foot downward away from the leg, and dorsiflexion, lifting the foot up towards your body.
Ankle pain is most often due to a sprain. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments, the tissue that connects bone to other bones, that help hold your ankle bones together but become overstretched or torn when you roll or twist your ankle. An ankle sprain can be quite painful making it almost impossible to walk or bare weight on that leg. Swelling and bruising is likely as well as sensitivity to the touch. While ankle sprains are very common among athletes these injuries can take place anytime and anywhere. From wearing high heels to simply walking on uneven surfaces, an ankle sprain is something that most people experience at some point in their life. Unfortunately, without proper rehab the basic ankle sprain can have lasting consequences. When the ankle has not properly and fully healed chronic ankle instability can develop making your ankle more susceptible to future sprains.
The foot, like your hand, is a complex network of muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons. Many conditions can cause foot pain, from gout to bone spurs, but one of the most common is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis can cause excruciating, sharp pain in the heel or arch of your foot due to inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs through the bottom of your foot connecting your toes and heel bone. Proper shoe support is key to preventing and alleviating pain from plantar fasciitis, especially for runners and people who are overweight.
Fractures are also very common in the foot and ankle. Everything from a stubbed toe to an improper landing can cause a fracture in one of the numerous bones in the area. Typically fractures require immobilization through casting and will require physical therapy after the bones have properly set and the cast is removed.
Your All Star physical therapist will complete a comprehensive evaluation of your ankle or foot to determine the cause of your pain and the best way to treat your symptoms. This evaluation might include measuring your range of motion, strength, alignment and posture. The goal of physical therapy will be to strengthen and stretch the affected areas to promote healing, reduce pain and make more mobile. Through specialized hands-on techniques, stretching, and strength building your therapist will build a comprehensive treatment plan to quickly reduce your pain. This plan may also include heat, ice, ultrasound and electric stimulation which help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.