The ankles and feet consist of many bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. They are under a lot of strain as they bear your full body weight whilst walking, standing and running. There is therefore lots of opportunity for injury leading to ankle and foot pain. Ankle and foot pain could be due to instability, arthritis, gout, tendonitis, fracture, nerve compression or poor structural alignment of the leg and foot.
Flat feet / Pes Planus / Dropped arches
The integrity of your foot arches are vital for efficient force transference up your lower extremity, i.e. the dissipation of the ground force (when your heel strikes the ground), through your foot, ankle, knee, hip and up your spine. Dropped or dropping arches alters the mechanics of this force transference and may lead to ankle and foot pain as well as knee, hip and/or low back pain. Orthotics (shoe inserts/insoles) may be suggested to work in conjunction with osteopathic treatment; our treatment also includes the distant joints that may be suffering due to flat feet.
Many structures in the feet can cause ankle and foot pain, including the thick Plantar Fascia in the sole of the foot called Plantarfasciitis (inflammation of this fascia). The Plantar Fascia supports the arch of your foot and also acts as a shock absorber in your foot. This results in foot pain making walking difficult and painful.
Osteopathic techniques can help relieve ankle and foot pain by relieving the tension in your plantar fascia along with self-help advice too.
Achilles tendon injury
The Achilles tendon is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body, it is a fibrous tissue that connects your heel to your calf muscles. Your Achilles tendons are subject to your entire body weight with each step.
The most common causes of injury are: overuse, misalignment, improper footwear, medication side effects, and/or accidents/trauma. The most common Achilles tendon injuries are Achilles tendinosis/tendonitis and Achilles tendon rupture. Achilles tendinosis is a soreness and stiffness that comes on gradually leading to ankle and foot pain which continues to worsen until treated. It often starts with stiffness and creaking when first getting out of bed in the morning. Lightly pinching the Achilles tendon with the forefinger and thumb causes pain.
Achilles tendon rupture is either a partial and complete tear of the Achilles tendon. It comes on suddenly, sometimes with a popping sound and is debilitating. Partial and full Achilles tendon ruptures are most likely to occur in sports requiring sudden eccentric stretching, such as sprinting and racquet sports. Achilles tendon rupture and tendinosis require very different treatments so please seek specialist advice before ‘self diagnosing’ your injury as a tendinosis can present very similar to a partial rupture.
Your foot consists of 28 bones and more than 30 joints, which equals lots of ‘things’ to go wrong. Injury is most often due to ill-fitting shoes or incorrect sports shoes, trips, falls or jarring (i.e. landing from a jump).
Osteopathic articulation and manipulation techniques can help relieve ankle and foot pain and if need be the use of heel lifts or orthotics (inner soles for your shoes) may be suggested.
020 8530 8029/07808928066 or email me on Tammy@aspireosteopathy.co.uk
Geoffrey Lloyd Foulkes Clinic