Our feet and ankles are complex both anatomically and physiologically. Every day we put them through all sorts of stresses and strains. We rely on our feet and ankles so much yet we barely notice them - until something goes wrong. Then foot and ankle pain can really impact negatively on our lives. So what can be done about it?
Sources of pain
There are many causes of foot and ankle pain, including arthritis, gout, fracture and neuropathy. However this article will focus on two common causes: sprained ankle and heel pain from plantar fasciitis.
Sprained ankle is a common cause of ankle pain; it is caused by stretching the ligaments that hold the bones of your foot to the bones of your leg. This can happen when your foot moves suddenly out of its usual position, when playing sports or even during a simply stumble. Common symptoms of sprained ankle include pain, swelling and bruising around the injured area. It may be difficult to walk because of the ankle pain.
Another common problem area is the heel. Heel pain is usually caused by a condition caused plantar fasciitis, which arises from inflammation of the connective tissues that run underneath the sole of the foot. People with plantar fasciitis tend to complain of pain along the bottom of the foot, from the heel and into the foot arch: a heel pain that increases in severity over time.
If you are suffering from a sprained ankle or ankle pain, here are a few home treatments that you could try:
• Reduce physical activity. Immobilisation with a splint may be helpful
• Try to avoid weight-bearing on the painful foot and consider using crutches
• Take over the counter anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen
• Keep your injured foot elevated when at rest
• Consider applying ice to reduce any swelling
• Consider physiotherapy
And if you have plantar fasciitis here are a few tips that may help:
• Sometimes heel pain from plantar fasciitis is caused by tight calf muscles so try some calf muscle stretching exercises
• Wear supportive shoes and avoid going barefoot to reduce the stress on your foot arch
• Anti-inflammatory drugs, rest and ice application may also help
Surgical Treatment for Foot and Ankle Pain
Surgery for foot and ankle pain is an option if non-surgical treatments do not work. Depending on the cause of your pain, there are a few options that may be considered.
For sprained ankle keyhole surgery is an option. Here, a small camera is used to image your ankle joint and any damaged tissues or loose bone fragments can be removed using small surgical tools. Reconstruction may be required to repair any torn ligaments.
For heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis, surgery may be of benefit. The aim would be to free the inflamed fascia from the heel bone, which should relieve pressure and reduce pain.
A Final Note
The purpose of any surgery on the foot and ankle is to improve function and to reduce pain. It is vital that you speak to an experienced surgeon who can explain the pros and cons of any potential surgical intervention. Seek advice early to maximise the chances of a good outcome.
About Ramsay Health Care
At Ramsay Health Care we are proud to work in partnership with some of the highest qualified and experienced consultant orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, pain management consultants and physiotherapists in the UK. Our holistic care offers you the best treatment!
At Ramsay you won’t have to wait for an appointment or for your surgery. Your treatment may be covered by medical insurance and self-pay packages are available on request. We have first class facilities and all self-funding and most privately insured patients can enjoy our Premium Care offering exclusive benefits including superb food, a relaxing environment, priority access and appointments to suit your lifestyle. Our aim is to help you feel like a guest as well as a patient.
Please contact us for more information.