Ankle and Foot Pain

Common Causes, Complaints, Diagnosis, Treatment and How Physical Therapy Can Help

Typical Complaints

“My heel and arch hurt the worst in the morning”

“Twisting and turning really make my Achilles hurt worse”

“This shoe has never given me a problem, why does my foot hurt now?”

“I’m increasing my fitness program, and now my shin is killing me!”

Common Causes

Research consistently shows that the following contribute to most ankle and foot pain complaints:

  • Poor footwear
  • Shoes with poor foot support
  • Shoes with a narrow toe box
  • Worn-out shoes (even though they may still ‘look’ good)
  • High heels
  • Cowboy boots
  • Ankle sprains
  • Foot and ankle fractures
  • Ligament and tendon ruptures
  • Poor flexibility
  • Tight calf muscles

A lack of hip and core strength and stability alters the way our foot hits the ground and can lead to abnormal mechanical stresses. Our bodies function best when we have the appropriate overall balance of strength and flexibility.

Common Diagnosis

  • Muscle strains (gastrocnemius or soleus strain/tear, peroneal strain)
  • Ligament sprains (ant./post. Talofibular ligament, calcanealfibular ligament, deltoid ligament, ligaments in the forefoot)
  • Fractures (tibia/fibula, lis franc, sesamoid, cuboid, stress fractures of the metatarsals or tibia)
  • Tendonitis (Achilles, posterior tibial, anterior tibial, flexor hallicus longus, peroneal)
  • Arch Pain, Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis, heel spur, pes planus or pes cavus)
  • Neuromas (Morton’s neuroma)
  • Big Toe pain and/or deformity (Hallux valgus, bunion)
  • General anterior or posterior ankle pain (anterior or posterior talocrural impingement, decreased talocrural or subtalar joint mobility)

Common Treatments

Along with skilled manual therapy, individualized stretching and strengthening and patient education we may incorporate methods such as taping, heat or ice, electric stimulation and iontophoresis.

We also offer video gait analysis with state of the art software to analyze your gait pattern and provide recommendations on appropriate shoe wear for your particular situation.

Since 1994 our evidenced based approach has helped thousands of West Michigan patients get back to their lives and on their way to a healthy, happy foot.

Helpful Resources

We can help relieve your pain.

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