Foot and Ankle Pain

Foot and ankle pain is one of the most persistent types of pain you can experience. Your feet are your foundation and support your entire body weight. If there is pain in your foot or ankles, it can affect the alignment of your whole body. Taking care of your foundation will help keep you mobile and moving so that you can maintain a high quality of life.

What are the risk factors for foot and ankle pain?

Foot and ankle pain is one of the most persistent types of pain you can experience. Your feet are your foundation and support your entire body weight. If there is pain in your foot or ankles, it can affect the alignment of your whole body. Taking care of your foundation will help keep you mobile and moving so that you can maintain a high quality of life.

What are the risk factors for foot and ankle pain?

The repetitive stress put on the feet of runners, hikers and joggers puts them at elevated risk for developing:

  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Ankle sprains

Some conditions have a genetic component that patients can’t help. Heel spurs can develop on almost anyone, and these small spurs that dig into the Achilles tendon can make walking a difficult and painful chore. Arthritis can also cause the toes to curl and shift, causing pain throughout the entire foot.

What can I do to treat foot and ankle pain myself?

For most foot and ankle sprains and strains, utilizing the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method is a great program to reduce pain and swelling, and to promote healing. For sufferers of plantar fasciitis, bone spurs and shin splints, consider investing in a set of orthotic shoes or including a lift in your current shoes to help provide relief from foot and ankle pain. For runners, remembering to replace your running shoes every 300–500 miles is a great idea to keep feet fresher and limit the pain of shin splints and Achilles tendonitis. For serious runners, this could be as quick as six months before the shoes need to be replaced.

Physical therapy treatment options for foot and ankle pain

The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to regain as much strength, flexibility and range of motion as possible. There are three primary exercise positions of the foot to achieve this goal. The first is dorsiflexion in which you push your heel forward while your toes reach for the sky. It is important to not point the toes, as the work comes from the heel and the Achilles tendon. The second is plantarflexion where the knee is kept straight with the toes pointed out straight ahead. This position strengthens the muscles in the foot. The last position is eversion/inversion where the toes remain pointed and the ankle is rotated away from the midline of the body in eversion and toward the midline with inversion. This helps strengthen the ankle and increase its rotational range of motion.

Our feet and ankles are truly the foundation of our bodies. Taking care of our foundation allows us to stay mobile and enjoy a good quality of life. When foot or ankle pain develops, it is important to have it looked at immediately in order to prevent further damage and keep you from doing the things you love. The knowledgeable physical therapists at Back in Motion Physical Therapy want to keep you on your feet and keep you moving. If you or a loved one is struggling with foot or ankle pain, contact one of our patient coordinators today to set up your initial appointment to go over which treatment option may work for you. We have center and branch locations in Gorham, South Portland, Portland, Newport, Brewer, Waterville and Auburn, Maine to better serve your needs.

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