You spend an incredible amount of time using your feet every day, and if you are suffering from foot and ankle pain, your life can be greatly impacted. It can cause dread and agony when taking the stairs, walking a block to your office, or even driving your car. Foot and ankle pain can stem from a variety of different causes, but Accelerate Therapy and Performance can help get you back on track. Physical therapy has been proven to help with the rehabilitation of injured extremities, in addition to providing relief for both acute and chronic pain. Contact Us Today at our Salisbury, NC location to speak with one of our licensed physical therapists and learn more about how our services can benefit you!
How does foot and ankle pain occur?
Your feet and your ankles are complex mechanical structures that must work together in harmony in order to function at their optimal levels. The Arthritis Foundation states that the ankle joint consists of three bones that all must interact with one another correctly, along with the various connective tissues that hold the assembly of the joint together.
The foot is even more complex, containing approximately two dozen bones, 30 joints, and over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Because of all the complicated structures that make up your feet and ankles, pain in those areas is a very common affliction. An injury to your foot or ankle can result in pain so severe that you avoid putting your weight down. This leaves you with only two options; hopping around, risking injury to your other foot, or worse, being stuck in a chair, unable to go anywhere and take care of yourself or others. Even mild pain can cause physical limitations to your daily life, and burden those around you.
What causes foot and ankle pain?
Foot and ankle pain can occur suddenly due to an acute injury, or it can develop over time in relation to a chronic, underlying condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several common causes of foot pain and ankle pain, including:
- Strains and sprains. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched, while a sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched too far or torn.
- Fractures. A fracture occurs from excessive force or trauma to the bone, causing it to crack or break entirely. A fracture to the foot or ankle could result in weeks of downtime to ensure proper healing.
- Tendinitis. Tendinitis occurs from excessive overuse of the tendons, causing them to become inflamed for a long time.
- Bursitis. Bursitis occurs when the tendons rub against the “bursae” or anti-friction sacs, causing them to become irritated and uncomfortable.
- Plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation in the connective tissue on the bottom of your foot. This can occur from aggravated overuse, such as constant standing, improper posture, or footwear that lacks proper arch support.
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome. Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tarsal tunnel (the nerve that runs from the ankle to the foot) becomes pinched and inflamed.
- Arthritis. Arthritis is a common inflammatory condition that affects the joints and results in pain; the most common types including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Both types of arthritis can greatly impact the foot and ankle joints.
- Fallen arches. Your foot contains several tendons that work together to form your arch. When the tendons pull together properly, your foot will form a proper arch. However, when the tendons do not pull together properly, your foot will form a very small arch, or no arch at all. This is referred to as “fallen arch” or “flat foot” and can cause pain or discomfort with time.
How can physical therapy treat my foot and ankle pain?
Whether you are suffering from an acute injury or chronic condition in your foot or ankle, you can find relief at Accelerate Therapy and Performance. Our physical therapists will conduct a thorough examination to confirm what is causing your pain, and then they will create a personalized treatment plan for you specifically. If you sustained an acute injury, it is likely that our physical therapists will prescribe a RICE treatment (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) for the first few days to make sure that any swelling decreases.
After the initial stages of your injury, you will move on to specialized physical therapy treatments. Comparatively, if you are suffering from a chronic condition, you will begin with specialized physical therapy treatments based on the needs of your condition. This is all part of your holistic healing or pain management program. The goal is to get you back to your normal level of physical performance and prevent future problems from occurring.
Your treatment plan will typically include a combination of exercises and stretching, in order to restore joint mobility, improve balance, and strengthen the foot and ankle muscles. Your treatment plan may also include exercises on a balance board, as well as other specialized services, such as ice and heat therapies, manual therapy, ultrasound, or cold laser therapy. We will do all we can to ease your pain and boost your circulation, which may include recommending lifestyle changes or orthotic footwear to prevent more problems in the future.
Don’t let foot and ankle pain slow you down! Our physical therapy practice will help you dictate your own mobility, comfort, and overall function, free from the limitations of pain. Contact Accelerate Therapy and Performance today to schedule your appointment. Our physical therapists will help you get back on your feet in no time!