Foot & Ankle Problems
The foot and ankle is actually a very complex structure containing no less than 26 separate bones and many more individual muscles and tendons. It is responsible for absorbing ground impact, stabilising the lower limb, actively controlling motion and providing feedback for balance, all whilst under the full load of the body. A fine compromise has to be achieved between support, shock absorption, balance and mobility, making it particularly vulnerable to injury. Problems with the foot can therefore create issues all the way up the lower limb and even to the lower back or further.
If the ankle pain has been present for some time and use of the ankle has been avoided, the muscles supporting the ankle can be prone to wasting. This can lead to a decrease in the body’s ability to stabilise the joint and the ankle pain recurring. Different sports and activities can lead to different causes of ankle pain. Symptoms often experienced are pain locally to one or more of the joints in the ankle, or sharp or dull aching pain in or around the joint. Associated symptoms are swelling, clicking, clunking, tingling, numbness and pins and needles. Pain coming down the leg and around the ankle may also be as a result of Sciatica, associated symptoms of this are tingling, numbness and weakness of the muscles around the ankle.
Foot pain is an often debilitating problem and can occur for a variety of reasons, the foot is an incredibly important and dynamic aspect of force distribution throughout the body and is often associated with lower back pain. Our Chiropractor is well trained in dealing with foot pain and can diagnose the cause of foot pain using a variety of skills. Assessing the feet in a sporting individual is particularly important and is a crucial aspect of any treatment whether it is for foot pain, knee pain, hip pain or lower back pain. This is because the body is all inter related and the feet are like the base of a very finely balanced cake. Slight changes in the mechanics of the feet or a history of foot pain can lead to a cascade of problems up throughout the lower limbs and in to the body.
Foot pain or symptoms in the feet may be related to another area of the body, a common problem that often refers pain down the leg and in to the foot is Sciatica. This may be associated with tingling, numbness, pins and needles or muscle weakness of the foot.
Over pronation, hyper pronation, pes planus and flat feet are common foot problems often associated with foot pain and lower limb pain. The reasons why this problem occurs are very complicated and a Chiropractor at our Gloucester based clinic will be able to tell you why it has occurred in your case, and whether or not it needs to be addressed.
Conditions seen in the clinic:
Tendonitis – Literally means inflammation of the tendon. This occurs secondary to damage which may occur for a number of reasons including repetitive movements, direct trauma or poor movement function. Pain is the most notable symptom.
Achilles Tendonitis – The Achilles tendon is the large tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone. It produces heel pain and calf tightness.
Sprain/strain – Overuse or sudden twisting can result in ankle sprains. Tearing of the muscles and ligaments which support the ankle will cause local swelling and tenderness. The most common is an inversion sprain where the foot twists inwards.
Plantar fasciitis – a painful condition affecting the sole of the foot and into the heel. Usually related to poor foot mechanics, so as well as directly treating the area of pain, it is essential to correct the foot’s mechanics for full and continued resolution.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome – compression of a nerve on the inside of the ankle, this condition causes tingling and numbness across the bottom of the foot under the big toe.
Pain – When sharp indicates inflammation. This may be in a tendon, bursa or ligament,
Ache – Most commonly associated with muscular problems including tightness or overuse.
Restriction – When the joints of the foot or ankle fail to move, additional strain is placed on the rest of the lower limb so restoring function is important for the whole leg.
Weakness – This can occur secondary to pain, trauma or nerve damage. It is often a more involved symptom, and needs really to be examined to determine the cause.
Swelling – This will often occur after a trauma, commonly after an inversion sprain of the ankle.
What to do if you have foot and/or Ankle Pain
Applying an ice pack to the region regularly, making sure your keep the joint moving and applying weight to the joint when possible are just a few simple basic strategies to help with most foot and ankle problems. We recommend that you consult The Chiropractor at our clinic to treat the problem and to reduce the chance of the ankle pain coming back.
The Chiropractor will be able to diagnose, treat and advise you on your foot /ankle pain. Our aim is to get your ankle functioning as best possible as soon as possible using manipulation, soft tissue techniques, and a variety of progressed home and in clinic exercises and rehab plans.