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Common causes of foot, ankle pain

Our feet and ankles support us anytime we are weightbearing, so if we are having pain, it can make our days extremely challenging to function.

Brian Horner PT, owner/director of Fast Track Physical Therapy joined us today to discuss some of the most common causes of foot and ankle pain and how his team approaches treating these conditions. Here’s more from him:

Plantar Fasciitis

  • The Fascia is a tough, fibrous band on the bottom of the foot. The fascia will can become inflamed often from overuse, poor arch support, and doing an activity that you are not used to doing…sporting activity, walking/running on the beach, different shoes, new job that requires more standing, etc.
  • Symptoms: Most of the time the dominate area of pain is located to the heel on the bottom of the foot and at times into the arch of the foot or sides of the heel. Pain will usually be worse when first getting out of bed in the morning or when you stand up after you have been sitting. If you must stand and walk a lot your pain will also be a lot worse as the day progresses.

Achilles Tendon Pain/Injury

  • The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body, and it attaches the calf muscles to the back of the heel.  Just like any other tendon in the body it can become inflamed from overuse, strained, or even torn.
  • Symptoms: Pain from tendonitis / tendinosis will usually be located at the tendon or where the tendon attaches onto the heel (Calcaneus). Pain will be worse with extended amounts of walking / standing, and usually worse when you stand up to walk after you have been sitting.

Other Ankle and Foot Conditions

  • Peroneal tendonitis (outside of ankle), Posterior tibialis tendonitis (inside of ankle), Shin Splints (front of lower leg),Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (similar to Carpal tunnel syndrome), Metatarsalgia (pain across the ball of the foot), Morton’s Neuroma (pain usually between the 2 & 3 or 3 & 4metatarsal heads), Hallux limitus /rigidus or arthritis (pain at the great toe).

How do we treat these conditions?

  • With all conditions we have found that we achieve the best and quickest results when we treat with a multifaceted approach. So, exercise will be given to restore ROM / movement and strength, but exercise alone won’t usually take care of the issue. We always provide manual / hands on treatment with a patient that may consist of Dry Needling, cupping, and instrument / hands-on soft tissue work. Modalities will be provided when needed to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to assist with healing. And we will assess the foot and ankle to see if either OTS (off the self) or custom orthotics are indicated. Both types of orthotics are relatively affordable for most people compared to orthotics can be purchased at other places. Our OTS orthotics are $45 and customs are $185.00. For our custom orthotics I still cast patient’s feet to make the mold. This takes much longer, but I still believe I can achieve the best foot mold while maintaining the foot and ankle in the correct position during to molding process.

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