Ankle Sprain / Strain
Ankle sprains are very common injuries and typically occur from improper footwear on uneven terrain. Most often, sprains occur from sports or trips over objects that were unseen. Sprains refer to injuries of the ligaments (connect bone to bone) and strains refer to injuries of the muscles or tendons (connect muscle to bone). Sprains and strains occur from quick over-stretching of the tissues, sometimes under contraction, causing micro-tearing and subsequent injury. Swelling begins as part of the inflammation process, causing pain and difficulty with movement.
About Ankle instability
Ankle instability typically occurs after the ligaments in the ankle have stretched out after injury, losing the normal stability of the bones in the ankle and foot. When there is ankle instability, the probability of future ankle sprains increases significantly. While the ligaments themselves may not be able to shorten back to normal, the muscles supporting the ankle can be strengthened to take up the slack. This compensation allows for better stability in the ankle and foot with walking, running, and other sport movements. Bracing may also be needed depending on the severity of the instability.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis refers to inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a thick band of tissue on the underside of the foot, connecting from the heel to the ball of the foot. Plantar fasciitis typically occurs from tightening of the tissues under the foot, and sometimes, even further up in the legs. Sometimes, abrupt changes in the shape of the foot, such as fallen arches, or changes in shoe wear, or changes in loading patterns can contribute to plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is commonly felt as burning or sharp pain when standing on the affected leg. It is typically worse first thing in the morning or with initial standing after sitting for a prolonged period. Quite often, too much activity may tend to increase soreness as well.
What is Achilles Tendonitis?
Achilles tendonitis (or tendinopathy) is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon that attaches your calf muscle to the back of your heel. Achilles tendonitis is typically caused by overloading of the tendon over time. Structural considerations like ankle and foot range of motion, tight calves, or altered running mechanics may put excessive strain on the Achilles tendon.Tendinopathies tend to respond well to a graded exercise program designed by your physiotherapist.
Ankle and Foot Fractures
There are many bones that can be fractured in the ankle and foot. Typical fractures that occur are to the fibula bone (avulsion fracture), metatarsal bone fractures, and calcaneal fractures. Fractures are typically immobilized with casting or bracing in a specialized boot. In severe cases surgery may be required to align and stabilize the bone with pins or plates.
After being immobile for a period of time whether from casting or surgery, the ankle and foot joints will become quite stiff. This loss of motion in the joint also causes discomfort and results in lost muscle strength in the ankle and foot.
Foot and Ankle Post-surgery Rehab
There are many different surgeries for the foot and ankle from fracture repairs to tissue repair from trauma. In addition, common surgeries such as bunionectomies, hammer toe, and even ankle fusions will require physiotherapy.
Due to limited post-operative movement and inflammation from the surgery, your range of motion and strength will be diminished. The loss of strength and range of motion in the foot or ankle can cause many problems in daily life including difficulty with weight-bearing activities, like standing, walking, and using stairs. When you are unable to stand for periods of time or walk on your own it can result in lost work hours and financial loss. But with a skilled physiotherapist working with you, you can get great results and return to previous activities without pain or loss of function.