Foot and Ankle Pain Treatment

We can help with any general foot pain, ankle pain including sprained ankles and tendonitis foot

We provide treatments for a wide range of foot pain and heel pain. We love working with ankles and feet – it’s all about that base!

The ankles and feet are extremely sophisticated structures, designed to carry our body weight gracefully and efficiently, sometimes under great pressures or at great speeds.

The feet and ankles are supported and stabilised by an intricate network of muscles, tendons and ligaments – and it is usually those structures which cause painful symptoms.

We often help with the rehabilitation of ankles which have become unstable and prone to twisting. We also help runners and other athletes with feet and ankle issues, as those joints work very hard for them.

We may also see people who suffer with inflammation or arthritis in those joints. This can be caused by previous trauma, mechanical imbalances such as rotated hips or knees, or a high volume of exercise many years.

Meadowside Osteopathy - foot and ankle pain image

Our approach

To find the cause of symptoms and exactly which structures are affected, we first note all the details about how symptoms came about, what it feels like, timing, daily pattern, aggravating and relieving factors.

We also ask about any issues with your spine and the rest of the lower limb joints, your health in general, and any significant events in the past such as accidents or surgery.

We then observe your feet, ankles and the rest of the lower limb, stationary and in motion. We also usually observe the pelvis and spine, as often the whole body’s posture and movement patterns can contribute to symptoms. We note any restrictions or pain, and any asymmetry.

Once we have established our working diagnosis we will always take time to explain to you what we found, and let you know how we can help, and whether we need to make any referrals.

We then use specific massage, mobilisation and stretching techniques to improve the flexibility in joints and muscles, relieve tension, improve freedom of movement and mechanics, and ensure good circulation for effective recovery.

With ankles and feet we may also use sports taping, to support the affected tissues as they heal and provide additional stability during the recovery phase.

During the session, we will also provide advice on exercise, posture and other techniques to aid fast recovery and maintain the treatment results.

 

Exercise and Advice

These are some of the most common techniques and exercises we prescribe for ankles and feet injuries or pain:

 

Heel Raises

Build strength and stability in the ankles 

Stand in front of a mirror with bare feet. Rise on your toes, as high as you can, then rest again.

Watch your feet and ankles as you rise and aim for the movement to be as straight and smooth as possible, with no wobble.

Repeat at least 10 times. As you get more confident, try this exercise standing on only one foot at a time.

 

Why is this important? 

An injury, such as twisting your ankle, will often damage not only muscles or ligaments but also the nerves that are in charge of communicating the joint’s position to the brain at any given moment (proprioceptors).

This exposes the joint to further injury, as the response is slower when the joint encounters any challenges, such as uneven ground or toys on the floor… And so improving control and balance in the ankle is an important part of post-injury rehabilitation.

Single Leg Balance

Build strength and stability in the ankles 

This one is simple: find any excuse to stand on one leg!

You can do this whilst brushing teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil or watching tv.

 

Why is this important? 

Just like in heel raises: An injury, such as twisting your ankle, will often damage not only muscles or ligaments but also the nerves that are in charge of communicating the joint’s position to the brain at any given moment (proprioceptors).

This exposes the joint to further injury, as the response is slower when the joint encounters any challenges, such as uneven ground or toys on the floor… And so improving control and balance in the ankle is an important part of post-injury rehabilitation.

Squats and Half-Squats

All-round lower limb strength

We love squats as they are such all-rounders – adding strength and control throughout the lower limbs and pelvis.

Standing with your feet hip-width apart, bend the knees and hips so your bottom is lowered and ‘sticking out’ backwards (there’s no graceful way of doing a proper squat!)

Come back up to standing, leading the movement with the buttock muscles.

Keep your feet flat on the floor if possible.

 

There’s no need to squat a long way down in order to feel most of the benefit, so a half-squat or just as far as your knees can bend comfortably, will still be very effective.

Calf Stretch

Stand up on a step, holding on to the handrail.

Place one foot firmly on the step, while placing only the ball of the other foot on the step, and letting the heel drop down.

Maintain a straight body, avoiding twists or bends. Hold this position for a minute or so.

 

Why is this stretch important for the ankle?

Several of the calf muscles cross the ankle joint providing movement and stability, attaching to the heel or under the foot.

Chronic tightness of the calf muscles may lead to pain in the Achilles tendon, as well as altered mechanics of the foot as it limits the freedom of movement in the ankle.