The foot and ankle’s primary role is to transfer your body weight to the ground, for example when walking, running or jumping. The mechanics of what happens to the foot as it makes contact with the ground can change the biomechanics of your entire body. Foot and ankle pain can be the result of injuries occurring further up the chain at the knee or hip, or the pain can be more local, such as heel pain from plantar fasciitis or ankle pain following an ankle sprain. Regardless of the injury, it is extremely important to evaluate the entire lower body.
The ankle is made up of the tibia, fibula and talus. The ankle joint allows your foot to move up and down. The talus is connected to the calcaneous at the subtalar joint which allows the foot to rock side to side. As you move into the foot there are 5 tarsal bones which connect to the longer metatarsal bones. Finally, there are the bones of the toes, the phalanges. The joints between the metatarsals and the first phalanx is called the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP) which form the ball of the foot. Movement in these joints are very important for a normal gait pattern. The big toe is the most important toe for walking, and the first MTP joint is a common source of foot problems.
When being treated for foot and/or ankle pain we will start with a thorough examination of the lower body that includes evaluation of your functional strength and flexibility and performing gait analysis. Based on our findings, your therapist will then create a specific treatment plan for your injury. This can include manual techniques such as soft tissue mobilization, retrograde lymph drainage massage, and joint mobilizations. Your therapist will prescribe exercises and stretches to increase your flexibility, improve your stability and your strength. Your therapist will also correct dysfunctional patterns of movement, so you can return to your pre-injury status stronger and more stable.
Below we have listed some common causes of foot and ankle pain, however, there are many different types of injuries and this is not and inclusive list. If you have specific questions about your injury please feel free to give us a call at (908) 276-0294.
- Ankle Pain
- Ankle Sprain
- Achilles Tendonosis
- Plantar Fascitiis
- Rehab following fracture of the foot or ankle
- Peroneal Tendonitis
- Decreased Balance