Common Foot & Ankle Injuries
These are some of the more common and general injuries we may see and are not an exhaustive list. Our dedicated and experienced staff will work with you on any issues and pain you may be experiencing and create a unique plan of care to meet and exceed your goals.
Tib/Fib fractures occur between the knee and the ankle and can be managed differently depending on the area of the fracture (mid-shaft vs. near the ankle or knee joint) and the level of the fracture. Following orthopedic evaluation, your doctor will help to determine whether your fracture can be managed conservatively (immobilization for a period of time then a gradual return to activity with physical therapy) or if will require surgery to stabilize the fracture. Depending on how the fracture is medically managed, your physical therapist will work with you and the orthopedic team to manage symptoms and restore function.
Ankle sprains occur when ankle ligaments are stretched and injured. There are various grades of sprains some of which may require imaging and collaboration with the medical team for optimal management. There are various ligaments in the ankle however ankle sprains generally fall into one of four categories: 1) lateral ankle sprain, 2) medial ankle sprain, 3) high ankle sprains, and 4) a combination of the first three. Following examination, your physical therapist will work with you (and the medical team as needed) to outline a timeline for return to activity and a treatment plan to address your concerns.
Following surgical repair of the Achilles tendon, post operative rehabilitation can help you get back to your prior level of activity. Following evaluation, your physical therapist will work with you and your surgical team to establish a rehabilitation plan that suits your needs. After an initial protective period, your therapist will assist you through the rehabilitative process to restore range of motion, calf strength, general strength and conditioning, functional tolerance, and a return to higher-level physical activity as appropriate.
Tendonitis occurs when a tendon becomes painful due to being overworked. This can occur when the tendon is overtrained (without effective recovery) or is under-prepared for the demands of activity. Common areas of tendonitis in the foot/ankle include posterior heel/calf (Achilles), inner ankle/foot (Posterior Tibialis), and the underside of the big toe/ball of the foot (Toe Flexor Tendon), among others. Tendonitis can be addressed by a progressive exercise routine targeting the affected muscles and tendons, surrounding muscles (core and legs), and emphasizing a gradual return to activity within tolerable limits.
Sever’s occurs in children and adolescents presenting as heel pain that is exacerbated by activity and generally improves with rest. This is usually due to a bony irritation at the heel bone where the Achilles tendon attaches. Sever’s can be treated with a comprehensive stretching program targeting the lower body, a progressive exercise program, and continued activity within tolerable limits.
“Shin splints” is a general term summarizing a collection of symptoms occurring in the lower leg between the knee and the ankle. Shin splints often occur following a change in training or activity status (amount of training/sport, change in footwear, or a change in training surface). “Shin splints” can be addressed with symptom management strategies, modifying activity, and a progressive exercise routine targeting lower leg muscles. Following evaluation, your physical therapist can assist you in modifying your activity to effectively manage your pain.
Hallux limitus/rigidus is related to pain in the big toe joint as a result of stiffness or rigidity in the joint. This can occur due to a variety of reasons however hallux limitus/rigidus is amenable to physical therapy management. Following evaluation, your physical therapist will work with you to address your concerns, increase big toe range of motion (specifically extension), and address any other identified limitations keeping you from your desired activity level.