The feet and ankles are the most commonly injured portion of the lower extremities. Dysfunction in the feet and ankles can cause knee pain and back pain. Minor sprains and strains can be treated with Physical Therapy. More serious injuries my require splinting or surgery to achieve a full recovery.
Physical Therapy for the Foot & Ankle
- Assess range of motion, strength and function of the feet and ankles
- Assess function as it relates to gait
- Review footwear and support
- Formulate a plan of care for Physical Therapy
- Treat and reassess
Achilles Tendinitis, is an in an injury where the achilles tendon becomes inflamed though overuse, poor footwear or other factors. A program of Physical Therapy can reduce the inflammation and restore normal ankle and lower extremity function to prevent a recurrence of symptoms.
One of the most frequent ankle injuries is an inversion sprain. This occurs when the foot rolls inward causing the ligament on the outside of the joint to tear. Treatment of these types of injury usually starts with immobilization with a bandage, splint or boot. Physical therapy is used to manage swelling and bruising initially then restore strength, flexibility and normal function. Balance and proprioceptive exercises included in ankle rehabilitation help prevent future re-injury.
The plantar fascia is the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. When this tissue becomes swollen or inflamed, it is called plantar fasciitis. Symptoms of Plantar fasciitis are pain in the heels with walking or prolonged standing and heel pain upon getting out of bed.
Heel spurs are often associated with plantar fasciitis and the treatment is similar however your doctor or therapist may also recommend shoe inserts to relieve pressure on the area.
A Bunionectomy is a surgery to straighten the big toe. It is usually performed by an orthopedist or a podiatrist. Initial treatment is immobilization in a boot. Once the area is healing you will be referred to PT to restore strength, flexibility and function in the foot.
Fractures in the foot can occur as a result of accidents, overuse or osteoporosis. Fractures are immobilized in a cast, boot or external fixator, then referred to Physical Therapy once the bone is healing well. Physical Therapy restores range of motion, strength and function including gait.