Foot/Ankle Pain

  • Sprains & Fractures;
  • Bunions, Bunionectomy
  • Bone Spurs, Plantar Fasciitis;
  • Achilles Tendonitis

Sprained Ankle

Ankle sprainA sprained ankle is an injury that occurs when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way. This can stretch or tear the tough bands of tissue (ligaments) that help hold your ankle bones together. Ligaments help stabilize joints, preventing excessive movement. A sprained ankle occurs when the ligaments are forced beyond their normal range of motion. Most sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle [inversion sprain].

Treatment for a sprained ankle depends on the severity of the injury. Although self-care measures and over-the-counter pain medications may be all you need, a medical evaluation is usually necessary to check for possible fracture and reveal how badly you’ve sprained your ankle and to put you on the right path to recovery. Physical therapy is frequently started immediately, for reduction of local pain and swelling and to accelerate the healing process, especially in athletically active individuals. Muscle strengthening of the lower leg is very important to restore optimal ankle joint stability to prevent recurrence and development of a chronic problem. In severe ankle sprains, an initial period of immobilization may be necessary prior to initiating physical therapy in order to ensure adequate healing of the sprained tissue.

Achilles tendon ruptureAchilles (uh-KILL-eez) Tendon Rupture

Achilles (uh-KILL-eez) tendon rupture is an injury that affects the back of your lower leg. The Achilles tendon is a strong fibrous cord that connects the muscles in the back of your calf to your heel bone (calcaneous). If you overstretch your Achilles tendon, it can sustain a partial tear or a complete rupture. It most commonly occurs in people playing recreational sports.

If you have an Achilles tendon rupture, you might feel a pop or snap, followed by an immediate sharp pain in the back of your ankle and lower leg that usually affects your ability to walk properly. Surgery is often the best treatment option to repair a complete Achilles tendon rupture, though some cases may not require surgery. In either case, physical therapy is an important part of recovery, for proper healing and recovery of function of both the partially torn

Forefoot Pronation; Flat Feet; Fallen Arches

Flat feet pronation

You have flat feet when the arch on the inside of your foot is flattened, allowing the entire sole of your foot to touch the floor when you stand up. A common and usually painless condition, flat feet may occur when the arches don’t develop during childhood. In other cases, flatfeet may develop after an injury or from the simple wear-and-tear stresses of age. Flat feet can sometimes contribute to problems in your feet, ankles and knees because the condition can alter optimal alignment of your legs. If you aren’t experiencing any pain, no treatment is usually necessary for flat feet. Some people have pain and secondary problems requiring physical therapy treatment [pain reduction, strengthening, biomechanical correction through fabrication of custom orthotic inserts.

A normal arch leaves a footprint similar to the one depicted on the left, while flatfeet typically produces a footprint such as the one pictured on the right.

Stress Fractures

Metatarsal stress fractureStress fractures are tiny cracks in a bone. Stress fractures are caused by the repetitive application of force, often by overuse – such as repeatedly jumping up and down or running long distances. Stress fractures can also arise from normal use of a bone that’s been weakened by a condition such as osteoporosis.

Stress fractures are most common in the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Track and field athletes are particularly susceptible to stress fractures, but anyone can experience a stress fracture. If you’re starting a new exercise program, for example, you may be at risk if you do too much too soon.

Physical therapy after a stress fracture may include reduction of pain and inflammation, biomechanical gait and running analysis, activity guidance and modification, especially during resumption of athletic or work activities.

Stress fractures are tiny cracks in a bone – most commonly, in the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes, maintaining your plantar arch. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.

Plantar fasciitisPlantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position; it can endure throughout the day and be persistent, causing functional disability and secondary problems elsewhere due to alteration of your normal gait pattern.

Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners. In addition, people who are overweight, women who are pregnant and those who wear shoes with inadequate support are at risk of plantar fasciitis.

Physical therapy treatment is directed at reduction of localized pain and inflammation, promotion of tissue healing, improved extensibility and prevention of recurrence through correction of underlying gait or biomechanical contributing factors.


MetatarsalgiaMetatarsalgia is a condition marked by pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot.Excess pressure on your forefoot can cause pain and inflammation in your metatarsals – the long bones in the front of your feet, just below your toes. You may experience metatarsalgia if you’re physically active and you participate in activities that involve running and jumping. Or, you may develop metatarsalgia by wearing ill-fitting shoes. There are other causes as well.

Although generally not serious, metatarsalgia can certainly sideline you. Fortunately, conservative treatments, such as ice and rest, can often relieve metatarsalgia symptoms. And proper footwear, along with shock-absorbing insoles or arch supports, may be all you need to prevent or minimize future problems with metatarsalgia. When this is ineffective, physical therapy may be necessary to reduce the local pain and inflammation, in addition to corrective manual therapeutics to improve mobility and activity tolerance of the bones of the foot and toes.

Foot or Ankle Fracture

A fractured (broken) ankle or foot is a common injury. You may experience this type of injury during a car crash or from a simple misstep. The seriousness of a broken ankle or broken foot varies. Fractures can range from tiny cracks in your bones to shattering breaks that pierce your skin.

Treatment for a broken ankle or broken foot depends on the exact site and severity of the fracture. A severely broken ankle or broken foot may require surgery to implant wires, plates, rods or screws into the broken bone to maintain proper position during healing. Either way, a period of immobilization of the injured area will be required for proper bone healing, predictably resulting in secondary joint stiffness and muscular weakness that must be corrected by physical therapy techniques and procedures, in order to restore proper and functional use of the foot/ankle complex.

Foot and Ankle Bones

A fall or blow to your ankle can break one or more of the three bones in your ankle joint – the fibula, the tibia and the talus – while rolling your ankle can cause a break in the knobby bumps at the end of the tibia and fibula. The most common foot fractures are in the toes or the long bones just behind the toes (metatarsals).

Back to Diagnoses & Problems Treated