Have your arches collapsed? Do you get tired achy feet after standing for a full day? Do your ankles feel weak? We can help with all of these complaints. Our entire body weight is held up by the foot and ankle complex. We need all 52 of the bones in this complex to be supported and in alignment with the 5000 steps we take in a day, to prevent pain, instability or injury not just at the foot, but the knee and lower back also.
The ankle joint is the connection between the tibia or shin bone above and the talus below. It sits between the two bony prominences on the inside of your ankle, the tibia, and the outside of your ankle, a long thin bone called the fibula. Crossing over this ankle joint, connecting the lower limb to the foot, is a complex series of medial and lateral ligaments, and tendons from the lower leg which add stability to allow you to run on uneven ground, jump and change direction quickly.
Ankle or a foot injury can occur however from an acute injury, for example twisting your ankle suddenly off a curb, or landing off balance, or can be of more gradual onset, for example excessive running with poor foot biomechanics causing plantar fascia or tendonitis, or a from a failure to rehabilitate a previous injury meaning a one off ankle sprain will lead to chronic reccurent ankle instability where you now roll your ankles easily. Whatever the injury, it usually results in ankle or foot pain, instability, loss of range of motion, joint stiffness, overall limiting your ability to stand, walk or run.
How Physio mechanics can help:
If left untreated minor ankle injuries can cause long term complications. Physio mechanics can help. On your first visit we will perform a thorough initial assessment allowing us to confirm your diagnosis and answer any questions you have. From there we will devise an individualised short term treatment plan to relieve your current symptoms, and a long term plan to prevent future reoccurrences. Common ankle physio treatments include massage, ankle and foot joint mobilisations, orthotic therapy, taping, and stretching and strengthening exercises. If you are suffering from any ankle aches or pains ring today and arrange an appointment with one of our expert staff.
Some common ankle injuries we treat are:
Lateral ligament sprain/tear – On the outside of our ankle are 3 thin ligaments connecting the bony prominence of the fibula to the lateral foot. They are there to provide stability and prevent us twisting our foot inwards. However, because of how thin these ligaments are, sometimes coupled with flat feet where these ligaments are already shortened, lateral ligament injury commonly occurs. A simple overstretch can cause pain and inflammation, however if the ankle is twisted right over one or more of these ligaments can rupture causing bruising and instability, and if not treated, could lead to recurrent ankle issues. This can also happen at the medial ankle, however it is less common since the ligaments are a lot more supportive at the medial ankle.
Plantar fasciitis – The plantar fascia is the connective tissue covering the sole of our feet holding all our tendons in place that make the ankle move correctly. Plantar fasciitis is irritation to the plantar facia, and can occur acutely by an overstretch, such as pushing off for a Netball pass, or can come on gradually from excessive loading in poor footwear or from poor foot biomechanics. This pain is often described as if you are standing on a sharp stone, and usually every step will cause discomfort, often causing you to limp. This needs to be treated quickly as it very quickly develops into a long standing issue.
Achilles Tendon Injury – Our Achilles tendon is the visible thick tendon above our heel that merges to form our calf muscle at the back of our lower leg. It is primarily responsible for pushing off on our toes which happens with every step, jog and sprint. Therefore injury to this area usually occurs when a sudden forward propulsion force is excessive, for example pushing off for a netball pass. Achilles tendon injuries can also be chronic in nature from repetitive injury, for example, poor foot biomechanics or incorrect footwear, minimal calf muscle stretching, poor rehab from an old injury, lots of hill running, or starting an intense new running regime, before the Achilles is strong enough.
Tibialis posterior tendon injury – The tibialis posterior tendon runs along the medial border of the calf muscle and wraps under the bony prominence on the inside of our ankle and inserts under our foot. It is responsible for maintaining our arch and supporting the calf muscles. Because of its location, you can imagine in individuals with flatter feet, this tendon is chronically stretched with excessive walking, running or weight bearing impact sports. Over time this may cause inflammation and subsequent pain in this distribution with these activities.