Foot Pain and Ankle Pain

Get Back to Walking and Running with Physical Therapy

Foot Pain and Ankle Pain

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes.  Various terms have been used to describe plantar fasciitis, including jogger’s heel, tennis heel, policeman’s heel, and even gonorrheal heel.   It is often referred to as heel spurs by the general public, although this is a misomer.  The annual cost of treatments for plantar fasciitis is estimated to be between $192 and $376 million dollars.  Nearly 3 million people are treated yearly for this debilitating problem, often without relief.   You’re more likely to develop the condition if you’re female, overweight or have a job that requires a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces.  You’re also at risk if you walk or run for exercise, especially if you have tight calf muscles that limit how far you can flex your ankles.  People with very flat feet or very high arches also are more prone to plantar fasciitis.

For runners, plantar fasciitis can also be caused by biomechanical flaws, including flat, high-arched feet and a tight Achilles tendon; excessive pronation; sudden increases in training mileage; beginning speedwork; wearing worn running shoes; running on hard surfaces, like asphalt or concrete; or wearing high heels all day before switching into flat running shoes.

Signs and Symptoms Include Pain:

  • In the morning, when stepping out of bed and taking the first steps of the day
  • With prolonged standing
  • When standing up after sitting for awhile
  • After an intense weight-bearing activity such as running
  • When climbing stairs
  • When walking barefoot or in shoes with poor support

Treatments for Foot and Ankle Pain

Treatment may included shoe inserts, steroid injections, physical therapy, and in extreme cases, surgery.  The cost of plantar fasciitis surgery can cost $10,000 or more depending on your insurance and where you live.  Additional surgical risks include nerve damage, permanent changes in foot shape, flat feet, and more pain than prior to surgery.    For all of these risks, conservative treatment is highly recommended due to the risks associated with surgery

Conservative Treatment with a Synergy Therapist

Rest is a critical part of healing any bodily injury.  Unlike other parts of the body, it is nearly impossible to rest your feet.  We have to stand and walk on our feet on a daily basis.  The need to rest and the reality that relief is not typically obtained overnight can be particularly frustrating for athletes.   The physical therapists at Synergy Health and Wellness utilize a variety of techniques including Graston, AlterG Treadmill, ultrasound, kinesiotaping, massage, exercise, ice, iontophoresis, stretching, and weight management to help you get back on your feet.  Research shows that most cases of plantar fasciitis improve over time with these conservative treatments, and surgery is rarely required.

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