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Conditions We Treat

Foot & Ankle Pain

The foot and ankle is one of the hardest working systems in your body, with more than 25 bones and over 30 tendons in that one region alone. Because of how complex it is, pain in this area is unfortunately common and will be felt by most Americans at some point throughout their lives.

Thankfully though, this kind of pain can be treated by a licensed professional – keep reading to understand more about the causes, different conditions and necessary treatment.

A running sitting and holding her foot in pain

What is Foot & Ankle Pain?

Your foot and ankle’s complex makeup is held together by a network of soft tissue, including muscle, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels. This means foot and ankle pain can be triggered by a range of conditions. Often, it can be short term, and simply in need of some rest,. Other times the pain is long term and in need of medical intervention.

This kind of pain is not isolated to any one group and, unfortunately, can happen at any time in your life. We’ll take a look at some of the causes in the next section, as well as some of your treatment options.

It’s no secret though that foot and ankle pain or stiffness can put a damper on your day – whether you’re struggling to get around due to an injury or you’re in chronic pain, speaking to a licensed professional can help you regain ease of movement.

A model human foot, showing the complex structure of the foot and ankle

What Causes Foot & Ankle Pain?

Pain that appears to be getting worse, does not improve, or lasts longer than a month could be due to structural changes in the foot or ankle. There can be several explanations for this, and other long-term pain in and around the feet or ankles. Some of the most common are:

  1. Poorly fitting footwear
  2. Osteoarthritis
  3. Bursitis
  4. Arthritis
  5. Stress fractures
Male runner crouching from foot and ankle pain

What Are The Symptoms of Foot & Ankle Pain?

As mentioned, some foot and ankle pain is short term – this kind of pain can often be cared for at home. Typically this will be when a minor accident has taken place, or after a long day putting your joints and muscles to use. Your foot and ankle may be tender to the touch, and feel tired.

If the pain in or around your foot and/or ankle doesn’t get better within a few days or begins to worsen, it may be necessary to speak to a licensed professional. Other symptoms that indicate need for examination may be:

  • Severe pain or swelling
  • An open wound
  • Signs of infection, such as redness, or a fever greater than 100 F (37.8 C)
  • Cannot put weight on your foot/ankle
Male hands giving foot massage to himself to relieve pain in foot

What Are My Treatment Options for Foot & Ankle Pain?

If your foot and ankle pain does require treatment, it’s crucial that you see a pain specialist to ensure your pain is properly managed. This is the quickest and easiest way to reclaim your life and ease of movement, while ensuring your condition is properly treated, as opposed to simply treating the symptoms.

Some of the ways your doctor may treat your pain are:

  1. Rehab Therapy – Rehab therapy is used when normal movement is painful and/or not physically possible. A specialist will design specific exercises for you to restore your movement abilities.
  2. Taping – Taping is a simple and non-invasive option to minimize movement and provide support and comfort until the injury is able to heal.
A doctor showing a patient their x ray of their foot and ankle

Frequently Asked Questions about Foot & Ankle Pain

1. Can sciatica cause foot and ankle pain?
Yes. While sciatic pain typically centralizes in the lower back, it can often extend all the way through the back of your thigh and down through your leg. Then, depending on how severely the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may then extend to the ankle and foot region.

2. How to get rid of foot and ankle pain?
See a medical professional. If you’re struggling with foot and ankle pain that has lasted more than a few weeks, even with rest, it’s time you seek the care of a doctor. Schedule a free assessment here.

3. What causes pain on top of the foot?
One of the most common short term causes of foot and ankle pain, this is usually due to overuse (typically during exercise – running, jumping, etc.) and/or shoes that fit too tightly on top. This form of pain will require you to rest – and if it lasts for more than a few weeks, then you should seek medical care.

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