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Foot and Ankle Pain: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Foot and ankle pain is a common problem that various factors can cause. Sometimes it's due to an injury; other times, it results from overuse or wears and tear on the joints and muscles. Whatever the cause, foot and ankle pain can make it difficult to walk, run, or even stand for long periods.  

Fortunately, there are several effective treatments available. Let's take a closer look at some of the most common types of foot and ankle pain and their symptoms and treatments. 

What types of foot and ankle pain are there? 

There are many different types of foot and ankle pain, depending on the underlying cause. Some common types include: 

  • Achilles tendonitis is inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. It can be caused by overuse or injury. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the Achilles tendon. 

  • Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. It can be caused by overuse, obesity, or wearing shoes that don't provide enough support. Symptoms include pain in the heel or arch of the foot. 

  • Ankle sprain: This is a tear or rupture of ligaments in the ankle. It can be caused by an injury or overuse. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and bruising in the affected area. 

  • Arthritis: This is a degradation of the cartilage that cushions the joints. It can be caused by age, injury, or genetics. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and swelling in the affected joints. 

  • Bunions: This is a deformity in which the big toe points toward the second toe instead of pointing straight ahead. Bunions can be caused by genetic factors or shoes that are too tight or ill-fitting. 

Symptoms and Treatment 

Foot and ankle pain can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the underlying cause. Some common symptoms include: 

  • Pain: This is the most common symptom of foot and ankle pain. It can range from mild to severe and may be constant or intermittent. 

  • Swelling: This can occur if there is inflammation or fluid buildup in the foot or ankle. 

  • Bruising: This can occur if there is an injury to the foot or ankle. 

  • Stiffness can occur if the foot or ankle is not moving properly due to pain or swelling. 

Treatment for foot and ankle pain will vary depending on the underlying cause. Some common treatments include:  

  • Rest: This is often the first line of treatment for foot and ankle pain. It allows the foot or ankle to heal from injury or overuse. 

  • Ice: This can help reduce swelling and pain in the foot or ankle. 

  • Physical therapy can help improve the range of motion and strength in the foot or ankle. 

  • Surgery: This is usually only recommended for severe cases that don't respond to other treatments. 

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) will sometimes be enough to treat your symptoms. Over-the-counter (OTC) medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. If your symptoms do not improve with RICE or OTC medication, you may need to see a doctor for further treatment options, such as physical therapy or surgery. 

How to Prevent this Pain 

There are several things you can do to prevent foot and ankle pain, including: 

  • Wearing proper footwear: This means shoes that fit well and provide support for your feet. 

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve the range of motion and flexibility in the foot and ankle. 

  • Avoid high-impact activities: If you have foot or ankle pain, avoid activities that put stress on the foot or ankle. 

 If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, contact the specialists at First State Orthopaedics today. We can help you find the cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms.