Foot and ankle pain are conditions that are well suited for osteopathic treatment and management. Although many people do not think of an osteopath first when they encounter problems in these areas we have a highly tuned ability to detect and treat soft tissues and joints in these areas.
The plantar fascia is a thick, strong sheet of fibrous connective tissue that connects the heel and the toes. The plantar fascia forms the arch of the foot and helps to absorb shock during weight bearing activity. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, and if left untreated, can contribute to the development of bone spurs in the heel. Learn more about Plantar Fasciitis here.
Ankle Ligament Sprain
Ankle Ligament Sprain occurs when ligaments – fibrous structures that hold bones together – become overstretched or strained. A sprained ankle is a very common injury, and the most common injury to the ankle. Sprains typically involve “rolling” the ankle and spraining the three lateral ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Sprains to the ligament on inner side of the ankle (deltoid ligament), or at the top of the ankle can occur, but are far less common and usually involve a significant trauma/injury to the ankle. Learn more about Ankle Ligament Sprain here.
The Achilles Tendon connects the muscles of the lower leg to the ankle. The Achilles Tendon is the thickest tendon in the body and is involved in movements of the foot, which enable us to walk, run and jump. Achilles Tendinopathy may refer to inflammation of the Achilles tendon (tendonitis) or degeneration/micro-tears in the collagen fibres of the tendon (tendinosis). Both result in pain in the heel and require treatment and management. Learn more about Achilles Tendonitis here.
Treatment and management
Your osteopath can perform an examination to properly diagnose the condition and identify the cause. They may also recommend or apply:
- Osteopathic treatment of leg muscles that may be contributing to the problem
- Rehabilitation exercises
- Reduction of the load on the Achilles tendon using a heel lift, orthotics, or prokinetic inner-soles
- Training modifications and preventative stretches
- Reducing inflammation with diet modification, supplementation, strapping, medications or ice/cold therapy.
What to avoid
- Do not apply heat or heat creams to the affected area
- Do not apply pressure or self-massage to the area
- Do not self-prescribe massage, stretches or exercises