Has standing behind your work counter become an agonizing experience? Do you dread taking the stairs because of that nagging pain in your ankle? Have you been forced to give up some of your favorite activities due to foot or ankle discomfort? These symptoms can certainly be disabling, and the fact that they can stem from a variety of causes doesn’t simplify your dilemma. That’s why you’ll be glad to know that physical therapy can help you rehabilitate an injured extremity and help you get chronic foot and ankle pain under control. Contact PREP Performance Center today and see for yourself!
What is foot and ankle pain?
Both the foot and the ankle are complex mechanical structures. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the ankle joint consists of three bones, all of which must all interact correctly together and with the various connective tissues that hold the assembly together. As for the foot, it contains more than two dozen bones, 30 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It’s no surprise, then, that foot and ankle pain are such common afflictions. A serious injury may cause pain so severe that you don’t dare put any weight on the affected foot or ankle. Even less debilitating pain can still make everyday tasks a burden.
Causes of foot and ankle pain
- Sprains and strains — A sprain is a stretched or torn ligament; a strain is a stretched/torn muscle or tendon.
- Tendinitis — Constant overuse of the tendons in the ankle or foot can cause them to become chronically inflamed.
- Bursitis — Tendons that rub against anti-friction sacs known as bursae can cause the bursae to become irritated and painful.
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome — Inflammation of the tarsal tunnel can pinch the nerve that runs from the ankle to the foot.
- Plantar fasciitis — This inflammation of the arch’s connective tissue is aggravated by constant standing, postural problems, and/or footwear that lacks arch support.
- Arthritis — Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can afflict the foot and ankle joints.
- Fractures — Fractures to the foot or ankle can force weeks of downtime to permit healing.
How physical therapy can help foot and ankle pain
Whether you sprained your ankle in a sports mishap or you’re struggling with a chronic pain condition in a foot or ankle, physical therapy can put you on the road to relief. Our Chicago physical therapists will examine your foot and ankle carefully to confirm the exact cause of your pain. If you’ve sustained an acute injury, we will probably prescribe the R.I.C.E. treatment protocol (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) for the first few days so that the worst of the swelling can go down.
Once you’re past the initial stage of your injury (or if you’re suffering from a chronic pain issue instead of an acute injury,) we can move on to several other physical therapy measures. You may receive several physical therapy techniques as part of a holistic healing or pain management program. Exercises usually play a key role in such a program. We may prescribe a variety of stretching exercises to restore joint mobility, or strengthening exercises to rebuild ankle and foot muscles, including the small muscles that help control your balance (exercises on a balance board can be very helpful in such cases.) Other popular therapeutic techniques include ultrasound, heat, and cold laser therapy to ease pain and boost circulation. We may even recommend orthotic footwear and changes in your lifestyle to help you keep foot and ankle pain away.
Don’t let a case of foot or ankle pain dictate your mobility, comfort, and function. Contact us at Lincoln Square, Irving Park, Lakeview, Horner Park, Roscoe Village & Ravenswood Chicago, IL centers today to schedule an evaluation. We’ll be happy to administer the necessary care to help you take everyday life in stride again!