Part of your ankle joint is like a hinge that allows your foot to move pointing in it down (plantar flexion) or up (dorsiflexion). The other part of your ankle, (the sub-talar joint) will also allow twisting motions of the foot (inversion and eversion).
Joints in the mid and forefoot allow for complex motions ensuring the intricate balance between stabilization as well as flexibility in the foot and ankle. Foot and ankle stability is maintained by complex ligament and tendon anatomy to support the ankle and arches of the feet.
Ankle Sprain – An ankle sprain is one of the most common causes of ankle pain and makes up 85 percent of all ankle injuries. A sprain occurs when ligaments are stretched beyond their flexibility becoming overstretched or sometimes tear, either partially or completely.
Most ankle sprains occur when your foot rolls inward, causing the outside of your ankle to twist toward the ground, stretching the outside ligaments of your ankle. Immediate swelling along the outside of your ankle often occurs and is usually associated with significant pain. Ligament injuries can range from partial to complete tears.
If the injury is significant and you are unable to weight bear or move your ankle without significant pain you could also have a bony fracture. When suspecting a possible fracture always seek professional medical evaluation (E.R. or G.P)
Tendonitis – Tendonitis occurs when a tendon gets inflamed from sudden trauma or repetitive stress. The most common tendinitis occurring around the ankle involves “The Achilles Tendon,” on the back of your foot; “The Posterior Tibial Tendon” on the inside of your ankle or “The Peroneal Tendon” on the outside of the ankle.
Ankle tendonitis usually results from a sudden injury in sports or an overuse injury from running or jumping. All forms of tendonitis can cause pain, swelling, and tenderness of the tendon in question.
Osteoarthritis (OA) – Ankle pain from osteoarthritis is at a much lower rate than the other major weight-bearing joints in the lower extremity. Ankle or foot joint stiffness is not uncommon and often occurs initially in the morning to then gradually settle as activity occurs.
Suffering from osteo-arthritis in the foot or ankle can lead to pain and eventually loss of function.
Plantar Fasciitis – Plantar Fasciitis involves inflammation of the thick tendon-plate called “The Plantar Fascia” that runs across the bottom of your foot, spanning a hammock-like connection between your heel bone to your toes.
Plantar fasciitis usually causes pain in your heel especially with your first steps in the morning or after sitting for a period of time. Once you get up and move, the pain tends to slowly decrease.
Plantar fasciitis is more common in runners and those who have either a flattened or heightened arches in their foot.
In order to ensure effective management, an evaluation of structural vs. habitual causes of dysfunction is essential.
Stress Fracture – This type of fracture is often caused by repetitive stress on the foot or ankle such as excessive running or jumping, without an adequate period of recovery. Stress reactions or fractures may occur in athletes following a sudden or large increase in training time. The pain is usually sharp and localized to a specific area.
Physiotherapy management is proven to decrease pain, aid in recovery, and deal with both acute and chronic issues with the foot and ankle.
Orthotics can also be useful for improving an alignment of the foot and ankle. An ankle brace for both acute and chronic injuries can be helpful.
A registered physiotherapist can provide you with an assessment of your foot, ankle and your lower kinetic chain to determine the best treatment for you.