Ankle and foot pain can run the gamut from annoying to excruciating. It can be caused by everything from bruising to a sprain, strain, tendinitis, or even arthritis. If you have pain in your ankle or foot that does not ease up with a few days of rest, get it checked out right away. Depending on what is causing your pain, there are multiple treatment options.
Many cases of ankle and foot pain are due to mild, temporary bouts of overuse. Being on your feet too long can cause aching and swelling. Stepping on something hard can cause a stone bruise. Minor twisting or rolling can cause a mild strain. If nothing is badly swollen, extremely painful, or obviously broken, it is generally safe to start with home care.
Practice R-I-C-E: Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation. Stop all heavy activity such as sports play and curtail your normal activities as much as possible for 24-48 hours. Use crutches, a cane, or even a wheelchair to avoid bearing weight on the injured foot. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel for 20 minutes at a time several times per day. Wear compression socks or use athletic tape to wrap the sore area. Keep your leg propped up above the level of your heart for at least 3 hours per day.
Over the counter NSAIDs help with both pain and inflammation. Take them as directed, provided you have no medical contraindications.
Physical therapy is extremely valuable in recovering from most ankle and foot injuries. You will go through three phases of treatment. During the acute phase, we will focus on stabilizing your injury and relieving pain. The subacute phase focuses on gently stretching and strengthening the affected area and surrounding support structures. You will perform exercises both in our office and at home to increase your strength and range of motion while minimizing pain. In the chronic phase, you will gradually return to normal activities with a focus on preventing reinjury.
Depending on the nature of your issue, you might need just a few physical therapy sessions, or you may need to see us 2-3 times per week for several months. We will perform a thorough assessment, which may include sending you for diagnostic imaging, and then developing a personalized treatment plan.
Depending on our findings and your pain levels, we may recommend pain management in tandem with physical therapy. Injections of hyaluronic acid or corticosteroids can reduce pain and inflammation levels to the point that you can better tolerate physical therapy. While stretching and strengthening exercises are the key to healing, the goal is to make you as comfortable as possible during the process.
Extensive injuries, such a broken bone, may require surgery. If you have severe arthritis in your ankle, you might want to consider an ankle replacement. If we feel that your condition might benefit from surgical remedies, we will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon for further evaluation.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are ready for the latest physical therapy treatments for your pain or injury, contact Manhattan Physical Therapy and Pain Center today at (212) 213-3480 to learn how we can help.