Ankle and foot conditions

Get back on your feet with osteopathy

Your ankle is made up of muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, all working together to help you move. Your foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Book an osteo appointment to talk about your ankle or foot pain

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Common ankle and foot conditions
Introduction

Did you know that a third of sports injuries affect the ankle?

Ankle injuries can take a few days to heal or many months. In addition to sprains, you can injure your ankle in other ways, for example, if your foot rolls inward or you land heavily on your leg. Pain can be in a very specific place or general pain around the ankle, depending on the injury.

Problems with your feet may result in pain or injury further up your body such as your knees, hips or back. It’s important to seek help when you feel pain or when your normal activities become difficult. Your osteo will advise and treat your injury and tell you about how you can get moving again.

 

Patient resources

Talk to your osteo about which injury prevention and management strategies are most appropriate for you, to help get you back on your feet and keep you there.

Here are some basic tips:

  • Warm up before physical activity
  • Use flexibility, balance, agility, stretching and strengthening exercises. Pilates, either alone, in a class, or guided by your osteopath, may be useful
  • Wear taping appropriate to the injury you have had (you may need your osteopath to apply this)
  • Wear supportive footwear. If you have an unstable ankle, try to avoid wearing high heels
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Allow yourself good recovery time in between activities

If you play sport:

  • Train prior to starting so you are fit enough to enjoy it and reduce the risk of injury
  • Check that the playing area is even

These resources are useful and evidence-based:

What the evidence says

Clinical evidence suggests that manual therapy may improve ankle movement for adults with an ankle sprain. Without manual therapy motion tends to improve, but at a slower pace at first (Doherty et al 2017; Van der Wees et al 2006).

Clinical exercises may help stabilise the ankle for physically active adults. Balance and movement awareness exercises have helped some adults when done regularly at home or work (Schiftan et al 2005; Van der Wees et al 2009; Wikstrom et al 2009).

Clinical exercises may reduce pain and give short term relief for plantar fasciitis or Achilles pain (Smith et al 2017).

References

Schiftan, L, et al, ‘The effectiveness of proprioceptive training in preventing ankle sprains in sporting populations: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport; 2005 (18)

Van der Wees, P.J., et al ‘Effectiveness of exercise therapy and manual mobilisation in acute ankle sprain and functional instability: A systematic review’, Australian Journal of Physiotherapy; 2006 (52)

Wikstrom, E.A, et al ‘Balance Capabilities after Lateral Ankle Trauma and Intervention: A Meta-Analysis’, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise; June 2009 41(6)

Doherty, C, et al ‘Treatment and prevention of acute and recurrent ankle sprain: an overview of systematic reviews with meta-analysis’, Br J Sports Med (2017); 51

Van der Wees, P.J., et al ‘Effectiveness of exercise therapy and manual mobilisation in acute ankle sprain and functional instability: A systematic review’, Australian Journal of Physiotherapy; 2006 (52)

Benjamin E Smith, et al, ‘Should exercises be painful in the management of chronic musculoskeletal pain? A systematic review and meta-analysis’, Br J Sports Med 2017;51:1679–1687

A systematic review on ankle injury and ankle sprain in sports. Fong DT, Hong Y, Chan LK, Yung PS, Chan KM Sports Med. 2007; 37(1):73-94.[PubMed] [Ref list]

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