Heel & foot pain are common complaints among athletes and non-athletes. There are a number of causes of foot and ankle pain but the most common ones are Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis, and stress fractures due to osteoporosis or running injuries.
Click on links below to learn about common causes of foot, heel and ankle pain and available treatment for these conditions.
Plantar Fasciitis is caused due to inflammation of the fascia, the main arch ligament in the foot. If not treated timely, it can lead to heel spur which is the result of bone laying down in the wrong place through the soft injured tissue. Another main form of heel and foot pain is Achilles Heel which involves the attachment of Achilles tendon on your heel. Calcaneal bursitis, posterior impingement syndrome and Sever’s disease can also cause heel and foot pain.
Following are the main sufferers of heel and foot pain
Ankle sprain, ankle instability, arthritis, gout, tendonitis, fracture, nerve compression (tarsal tunnel syndrome), infection and poor structural alignment of the leg or foot are known causes of foot and ankle pain. Depending on the cause of ankle pain, other symptoms such as swelling, stiffness, redness, and warmth in the involved area may be present. The pain and inflammation can make weight bearing on the affected joint difficult and cause stiffness and mobility issues.
In the acute stage of a foot or ankle injury or inflammation, RICE protocol is appropriate. This consists of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. The next level of treatment may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, physiotherapy, and in chronic cases cortisone injection. Conditions such as severe arthritis, multiple fractures, recurrent sprains causing ankle instability, and bunions may require surgical intervention.
Achilles tendonitis is a condition when the Achilles tendon of the foot or it’s covering tissue becomes inflamed. It is caused due to overuse of the tendon and is common among jumpers and joggers as these activities require repetitive motions & high jumps.
Achilles tendon injuries usually happen with activities such as running, jumping and sprinting. Achilles tendon injuries are one of the most common causes of ankle pain. If not as a direct result of sport-related injury, Achilles tendonitis is usually a result of the wear and tear of Achilles tendon over a period of time. It could also happen as a result of the calf muscle or lower extremity weakness. It can happen all of a sudden or gradually when the tendons become weak or there is an ankle or foot alignment problem.
Some of the common symptoms of Achilles tendonitis include
Consulting a physiotherapist can help heal your heel and foot pain through relevant exercises. These exercises, in addition to other treatment methods, will strengthen your foot muscles, reduce inflammation and increase mobility and agility.