Foot and Ankle Pain

When your ankle or foot does not function properly, it can affect the entire body. It can lead to loss of mobility, an uneven gait, and even hip and back pain.

So it is important to seek treatment as soon as you start feeling symptoms .Chiropractic care is a very effective therapy for treating ankle pain and injury. It is non-invasive and a natural approach to healing that allows the body to heal itself. Some common conditions seen and treated at Herts Family Chiropractic are:

Plantar fasciitis or Heel Pain

Heel pain is a common foot condition. An estimated one in ten people will have at least one episode of heel pain at some point in their life.

The plantar fascia is a thick, strong band of connective tissue on the underside of the foot, which runs from the heel of the foot to the middle of the toes. It acts to support the medial foot arch and as a kind of shock absorber for your knees and hips during gait.

Sudden damage, or damage that occurs over many months or years, can cause tiny tears (microtears) to develop inside the tissue of the plantar fascia. The long term damage to the plantar fascia can result in it becoming thickened and inflamed, giving rise to the heel pain you feel. Pain is usually localised to the underside of the heel and inner sole of the foot. Characteristically, the pain is worse in the morning (first steps) and when standing from a prolonged period of rest.

Most commonly, people who run regularly and older adults who are 40-60 years of age, are the two main groups affected by heel pain. This could be due to a rise in the demand of the plantar fascia linked to weight gain or obesity, change in footwear (flat shoes), increased activity levels or altered lower limb biomechanics.

Inversion ankle sprain

One of the most common injuries to occur in sport is an inversion sprain of the ankle. Studies show that somewhere around 40 percent of ankle sprains are not treated correctly or are misdiagnosed, which leads to disability or chronic ankle pain.

You are more susceptible to this occurring in sports which are on uneven surfaces and require running and jumping, or a sudden rapid change in direction i.e. football and rugby. The mechanism of injury occurs when the ankle is ‘rolled’ in an inwards direction causing damage to the soft tissues structures around the outside of the ankle. The anterior talo-fibular ligament is the most frequently damaged and the severity can be classified grade 1-3 dependent if it is mild damage or a complete rupture.

In mild cases the patient may experience a small degree of swelling, tenderness and stiffness, but continuing with active daily living should be manageable. When severe, an immediate onset of swelling may occur with stiffness, intense pain and bruising developing and intensifying over the following days and an inability to fully weight bear on the foot.

When the ankle does not function properly, it can affect the entire body. The muscles on either side of the leg or even under the foot can become sore or painful.

Achilles tendinopathy

Typically Achilles tendinitis is not associated with a singular specific injury, more frequently it results from overuse and repetitive stress to the area.

The Achilles is a large tendon which connects the two major muscles of the calf (gastrocnemius and soleus) to the back of the heel bone. Achilles tendinitis usually begins as a mild ache at the back of the leg or above the heel after running or other sporting activity. Tenderness, stiffness and thickening of the tendon which is worse in the morning and the following day after exercise may also be experienced.

Causes of Achilles tendinitis are due to activities that include running and jumping. A poor running technique, inadequate footwear, uphill running or a recent increase in intensity of activity may trigger symptoms to develop.

Chiropractic Care for Foot and Ankle Problems

Chiropractic is very effective for treating foot and ankle pain. After a thorough foot and ankle assessment, your condition can be diagnosed and recommendations for treatment can be made. This may include manipulation, acupuncture or dry needling, soft tissue work and home exercises. As well as increasing mobility and flexibility, regular chiropractic treatment can help increase stability and strength in your ankle. Often nerves and soft tissue can become damaged and chiropractic treatment helps facilitate blood flow, which speeds healing and reduces the chance of injury. It also uses a whole body approach so any compensatory pain in the knee, hip or back that may have occurred as a result of limping can also be addressed. Recommendations on diet and lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or exercising will be discussed too.

If necessary, a referral to see a foot specialist to have foot supports (orthotics) for your shoes can be organised.