Artistic photo of ankle pain

Top Of Foot Pain? Recurring Ankle Sprains?

Foot and ankle pain is a broad description for several possible causes.  Most people have sprained their ankle before.  They typically have pain, bruising, and swelling for an amount of time before they feel better.  On the other hand, most people have heard of something like plantar fasciitis but have never actually experienced it for themselves.  They present to our clinic with a self made diagnosis that is way off!  The moral of the story is that the foot and ankle are extremely important to our function as human beings.  Due to their weight bearing nature, they are quite often involved in not only pain in the region but pain elsewhere.  Like other areas of the body, in order to properly treat foot and ankle pain we must expand our focus to include the structures higher up.  Evaluation of footwear, exercise habits, and indirect causes like vascular issues must also be considered.  The following are some common diagnoses involving the foot and ankle:

Lateral image of the soft tissues of the foot and ankle.
  • Ankle Sprain
  • Ankle Impingement
  • Ankle Tendinopathy
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Achilles Tendinitis
  • Bunions
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Mortons Neuroma
  • Degenerative Joint Disease

Why do I keep spraining my ankles?

A woman rolling her ankle.

For people that have had ongoing ankle issues, the struggle is real!  An ankle sprain is one of, if not, the most common of sports injuries.  What makes matters worse is that they tend to happen over and over again.  When dealing with a chronic sprained ankle, we find that there is a disconnect between the neurological system and the lower extremity.  In other words, your brain is not quick enough to stabilize which results in a sprained ankle and subsequent foot and ankle pain.  Rehabbing an ankle will involving treatment to the area.  However, the most important factor is incorporating stability training to challenge the neurological system.  This may include balancing activities as well as re-direction activities.  In addition, strengthening of the core and hips is vital to improved function in the lower body.

Exercise to Prevent Ankle Sprains

What does it feel like to have plantar fasciitis?

Shows the typical location of plantar fasciitis in the heel.
Plantar fasciitis is a common diagnosis when evaluating someone with foot and ankle pain.  However, it is also commonly misdiagnosed by the patient, and at times, other providers.  The plantar fascia is a broad tendon at the bottom of the foot.  It can be felt when you curl your toes upward as well as lift your foot upwards.  Plantar fascia pain can be described as a "tearing" sensation in the bottom of the foot.  It can also manifest as a general "aching" in the area.  We find that newer cases may only have pain around the heel.  When evaluating a foot with plantar fasciitis, it is vital to check the muscles of the calf, most notably the soleus.  The soleus muscle gradually inserts into the Achilles tendon which then becomes the plantar fascia.  Shortening of this muscle can lead to symptoms of plantar fascia.  In addition to the soft tissue structures, it is important to check the mobility of the foot and ankle as well.  Click Here to read about ankle dorsiflexion and why it important.

How Can We Help?

Proper treatment for foot and ankle pain consists of a combination of joint manipulation, manual therapy, and rehab.  Chiropractic adjustments to the foot and ankle are highly effective due to the tendency of these joints to become restricted.  Soft tissue manipulation to dysfunctional and tight tissues like the calf muscles can further help improve mobility.  Functional rehab addressing the deep muscles of the foot as well as the hip is crucial to allow proper loading of the foot and ankle during activities such as walking.  It is very important to begin treatment and rehab after an injury quickly or else the likelihood of another injury increases greatly.  Rarely does an individual only sprain their ankle once.  For most, the first injury sets off a chain of recurring problems that can be hard to control.  At Elite Chiropractic and Performance, treatment and rehab to the foot and ankle is commonly done whether or not foot and ankle pain are present.  If you have pain in the foot or ankle, or you feel that the are could use improvement, call us for a consultation so that we can help!