Ankle and foot pain may result from a variety of things, including fractures, strains, sprains, overuse, and arthritis. Damage done to the ankle and foot can lead to debilitating pain and discomfort and hinder your ability to perform daily activities. Here are six common foot and ankle problems that we treat at Jaffe Sports Medicine daily.
Common Foot Problems:
If you have problems with pain that forms at the bottom of the heel and travels to the arch, you may have Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis occurs as the foot rolls inward or pronates more than it should. You may notice the pain is worse after prolonged walking, standing, or exercising. But we also hear our patients notice stiffness and severe foot pain after their first steps out of bed in the morning.
When you visit Jaffe Sports Medicine with this type of pain, we may take X-Rays to rule out any other possible causes for your foot pain and confirm a diagnosis.
Treatment options vary with how severe the pain is and the course of a carefully followed treatment plan that we will create for you. Treatment may include orthotic inserts for your shoes to correct the pronation, as well as physical therapy.
We recommend always wearing a good supportive shoe and stretching the foot before taking your first steps each day. By doing these things, Plantar Fasciitis pain will ease over time.
If you’re experiencing pain and deformity of your big toes, and possibly even the second or third toe, check your feet. If your toe bends downward at the middle joint, you may have a hammertoe. And your poorly fitted footwear or high-heeled shoes are likely to blame.
Hammertoe occurs when your feet do not have enough room to spread out. The toes become bent into an abnormal position and create a “hammer” head appearance.
A change in footwear to something roomier is recommended, as will the aide of an insert to correct the deformity. If, after time, these standard treatment methods do not fix the problem, the toe or toes will require surgery on the toe to straighten and correct the deformity.
We can also recommend toe exercises to perform that will help strengthen and hopefully correct the problem.
Bunions look like a large bump on the side of the large toe. Bunions are painful because they happen when the bones of the big toe become misaligned.
The misalignment occurs over time and is caused by wearing tight, narrow shoes that squeeze the toes together in an unnatural position. Bunions are commonly seen in patient’s feet that roll inward and affect more women than men. Jaffe Sports Medicine will order an X-Ray of the affected foot to confirm a diagnosis. X-rays are typically taken from a standing position, which is the best position, and will reveal how severe the bunion is.
There are non-surgical options available to you for treating a bunion. They include changing the shoe you wear to a wide fit and proper support in the big toe. We can also recommend using a shield to protect the area where the bunion rests in the shoe.
If pain persists and you have no relief from a wider shoe and toe box, we will discuss surgical options. But keep in mind, the recovery can be longer since your foot is a weight-bearing extremity.
Common Ankle Problems:
The ankle is a powerhouse joint that keeps us moving. An ankle injury is never a pleasant experience. When an ankle is sprained, the strong ligament is stretched beyond its limit. The same ligament connects the bones and holds the ankle in a stable position to support the movement.
The pain will range with the severity of the sprain. We at Jaffe Sports Medicine see some ankle sprains are minor and can be tended to with ice therapy, elevation, and rest. But we also notice more severe cases of swelling, pain, and those who cannot put any weight on the foot. In those cases, we determine if the care will be more long-term with problems like instability.
There is a grading system associated with sprains that range from mild—meaning a slight stretch; to severe—a complete tear. At-home care includes rest and ice first. Later, we will have patients begin incorporating a light range of motion activities and building strength until the flexibility and strength begin to return.
We will work closely with you to determine the course of your ankle treatment while your healing progresses.
Arthritis of the ankle can be diagnosed as Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Posttraumatic Arthritis. Each type of arthritis is lasting in form, which means you should be mindful that pain and inflammation will always affect your ankle.
With that said, you may have better days with no pain but may also have days with symptoms such as:
- Pain with movement, including walking
- Swelling and tenderness after activity or weather changes
- Warmth and redness
- increased pain and stiffness in the morning after rising from sleep
Treatment options vary with the severity of your ankle impairment. Still, they can range anywhere from physical therapy exercises you can complete at home to surgery for advanced arthritis of the ankle and ankle joint surfaces
If you experience ankle pain daily, we can help. Call Jaffe Sports Medicine to assess your ankle, and we will create a treatment plan that will help you get back better movement.
Achilles tendonitis pain can be severe and will begin at the back of the leg and radiate to the heel. This problem is common in athletes, runners, and even speed walkers, resulting from a breakdown of tissues caused by overuse. The tendon itself is the largest tendon in the human body, but it is also the most frequently ruptured of all tendons.
With severe symptoms such as pain with associated swelling, you should call Jaffe Sports Medicine for immediate treatment. An MRI or ultrasound will determine the extent of your Achilles injury. After diagnosis, we can determine how to proceed with your treatment plan.
To get the best results and heal properly, you will need a suitable bandage or ankle wrap to restrict the range of motion, such as an air cast. We will assign regular stretching and message as your treatment to regain motion and movement in the affected heel/ankle.
With time and rest, you will be able to return to activity once healing progresses. However, you will not be able to return to strenuous activity while recovering, such as running, hill climbing, etc. We will recommend swimming or using a rowing machine to stay fit while resting your injury.
Our doctors and therapists will work one-on-one with each patient to ensure that their treatment goals are met. We have the experience to investigate and treat your specific pain condition. Contact us to schedule an appointment to examine your foot and ankle pain.
TEXT BY M. HIATT