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Don’t Get Sidelined by Foot and Ankle Pain

August 29, 2022

Foot and ankle pain can throw a serious wrench into your lifestyle and activity level; especially if you walk or run for exercise. Foot and ankle pain are common in adults in their mid-forties and older. Acute ankle injuries are one of the leading bodily injuries that result in emergency room visits. Don’t get sidelined by foot and ankle pain.

Foot and ankle pain can affect your gait speed, create balance impairment, put you at greater risk of a fall, and can impact your ability to perform your normal activities.

Shoe wear can make or break you

Shoes that are too small, too big, or do not provide enough support can create foot and/or ankle pain. In order to prevent foot and ankle pain, it is vital to have proper fitting shoes that provide support.

Sandals and slippers

Because they are lightweight, sandals and slippers can be quite comfortable but typically do not offer enough support and, in some cases, can cause falls.

High heels

High heels can shorten your calf muscles and, if they are narrow and pointy, can lead to bunion formation if worn consistently.

Shoe wear is of even greater importance if you walk or run on a regular basis

Individuals who walk for exercise should replace their walking shoes every 500 miles or every 3-6 months. The recommendation for runners is every 300-500 miles or every 4-6 months for someone who runs 20 miles a week.

Foot structure can also set you up for injury and pain. Aberrant (differing from the norm) foot structure has been linked to foot osteoarthritis (OA), as well as OA and pain at the hip and knee. Low arches can lead to plantar fasciitis as well as knee and hip pain. The foot bone is connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone is connected to the knee bone, and so on, as the old saying goes.

Recurrent ankle sprains

If you have injured your ankle in the past, you are more likely to have another sprain in the future.  Research indicates that the most predictive factor in a recurrent ankle sprain is a history of a first-time sprain. Factors associated with recurrent sprains include:

  • Impaired proprioception (your body’s ability to sense movement, location, and position)
  • Decreased postural control
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Ligamentous laxity (from a previous sprain or from a genetic condition)
  • Decreased ankle joint range of motion

Physical therapy for foot and ankle pain

Who should you see if you have foot and ankle pain? Physical therapists are movement experts. They are like mechanics for the human body. If you have foot and ankle pain, a physical therapist can assess your gait, balance, muscle strength, range of motion, and footwear and then create a plan of care to help you improve any deficiencies. A physical therapist will have you perform exercises to work on your strength and balance. They may also use manual therapy techniques (like soft tissue work, stretching, and dry needling) to help increase joint range of motion and decrease pain. A physical therapist can also help with shoe wear or orthoses (insoles) recommendations. If you believe you have fractured your foot or ankle, you should always consult with a physician first.

If you’ve had to put the brakes on your walking or running routine, or your daily life has been disrupted by foot and or ankle pain, let our team of highly trained physical therapists help you get back to doing the things you enjoy. Call Adeo Physical Therapy at 970-339-0011 to make your appointment today.  We’re located in Greeley near highway 34.

References:

Musculoskeletal Conditions of the Foot and Ankle: Assessments and Treatment Options

Recurrent Ankle Sprain