YOUR ANKLE & FOOT

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Common Ankle & Foot Conditions

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains can occur from something as simple as walking on an uneven footpath but more often than not usually occur with athletes participating in sports such as netball, basketball and soccer.

 

Usually an ankle sprain results in tearing of the ligaments stabilising the ankle. However, in serious cases, you can also fracture a bone, tear muscles and overstretch tendons. 

 

Your physio is one of the most qualified in the field to diagnose the severity of your ankle sprain and will refer you on for an x-ray if necessary. Until then, safe initial management is RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) and avoid HARM (Heat, Alcohol, Running, Massage). 

 

Contrary to popular belief, all ankle sprains regardless of severity will require some physiotherapy treatment to reduce your risk of recurrent ankle sprains and more importantly to restore your normal walking pattern. Usually, you would have been hobbling around for 1-2 weeks which unfortunately doesn't return to normal by itself.

 

Achilles Tendinopathy

Achilles tendinopathy describes an overuse condition in the Achilles tendon. There are different stages of tendinopathy which each stage showing a different presentation in the cells and blood vessels in the area. The changes that are present in the early stage are reversible, however once the progresses into the chronic phase, the changes may be permanent.


Symptoms are pain and stiffness around the Achilles or heel region, as well as loss of strength in the calf. The pain is usually at its worse in the morning, or at the beginning of activity, eases with activity, and worsens after activity. The area may be tender, red or swollen if there is inflammation.

 

Your physiotherapist will confirm the diagnosis of Achilles tendinopathy based on your history (activities), symptom behaviour and clinical tests. Management will involve some hands on treatment and exercises with emphasis on restoring your full ranges of motion, strength and normal biomechanics.
 

Plantar Fascitis

Your plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue located at the bottom of your feet which acts to limit over-flattening of your arches. When this tissue develops micro tears or becomes inflammed, the condition is known as plantar fascitis. 

 

Symptoms are pain around the bottom of the heel or arch which is often worse in the morning or after resting. Your pain will improve with activity as it warms up. It is seen as a repetitive stress injury, and thus lifestyle modification is typically the basic course of management strategies. Your physiotherapist will consult with you to uncover all the factors that may be contributing to this problem.

 

If left untreated, plantar fascitis may then progress on to a heel spur which is a small bony growth located on the heel bone (calcaneus). A diagnosis of a heel spur is confirmed by a physical assessment and a trip to the radiologist for a x-ray.