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Foot & Ankle Pain

The foot and ankle is a very complex region of the body. It is made up of many bones that are connected by numerous ligaments, muscles and tendons. There are many causes of foot and ankle pain. Problems can originate from the foot and ankle region itself , or symptoms can be referred from other regions of the body, such as the lower back, pelvis, hip or knee, and felt in the foot and ankle. Your osteopath can diagnose the source of the problem and apply the appropriate treatment. Common problems found in the foot and ankle that your osteopath can assist you with are listed below.


Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is an injury to the foot's ligaments in the ankle. Ligaments are tough bands of elastic tissue that connect bones to each other. An ankle sprain usually occurs when the ankle rolls outward (with the sole of the foot facing the other foot). Causes of an ankle sprain may include weak muscles, loose ligaments, or shoes with spiked heels. The symptoms of a sprain depend of the severity of the injury - how much the ligaments have stretched or torn. Symptoms may include swelling, pain, and bruising.


Planter Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is characterized by severe pain in the heel or sole of the foot, especially when standing up after resting. The condition is due to an overuse injury of the sole surface (plantar) of the foot and results in inflammation of the fascia, a tough, fibrous band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the base of the toes.

Plantar fasciitis is more common in women, people who are overweight, people with occupations that require a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces, people with flat feet, and people with high arches. Walking or running, especially with tight calf muscles, may also cause the condition.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the human body. Achilles tendonitis is when the tendon becomes inflamed and it is caused by overuse of the tendon and calf muscles. Symptoms may include pain, especially after exercise, and swelling.


There are many other tendons in the foot and ankle that can become inflamed through repetitive movement, altered gait, flat feet, and inappropriete footwear. Like with achilles tendonitis pain and swelling are usually present.


This is where the cartilage that covers the bones like a cushion breaks down and the bones start to rub on each other causing the joints to deteriorate. It can make the affected joints stiff and painful and it is typically worse in the mornings. Gentle mobilisation and an increase in blood flow to the area can often help to improve symptoms. People with high or flat foot arches, or with a previous injury to the foot/ankle may have a higher risk of developing this condition.



Poor foot alignment is also a common cause of pain. If the structure of the foot is compromised either through injury, arthritis, flat feet or high arches then stress can be placed on the tendons, ligaments and joints of the foot . If the joints in the foot become "stuck", it can often result in pain when walking. Your osteopath can relieve the restrictions in your foot with gentle joint mobilisation. 

Your osteopath works closely with other healthcare practitioners and if neccessary can refer you to a podiatrist (foot specialist) for further assessment.

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