Foot injuries and Ankle injuries are one of the most common presentations to Advantage PT’s therapists. The foot and ankle function as a joint to provide stability and support in weight bearing while allowing for propulsion.
Injuries to the foot and ankle are extremely common in normal activities with the most amount of foot injuries occurring while playing high intensity sports such as football, soccer, tennis, squash. The most common mechanism of injury is the inversion ankle sprain, in which the ankle rolls over on the outside. An ankle sprain is the stretching and tearing of ligaments – in the sprained ankle the most common damage is done to the talo-fibula ligament (if the ankle sprain is worse, the calcaneo-fibula ligament can also be damaged) – sometimes the tendons also get damaged.
Ankle sprains are the most common day to day injury that we see in the clinic and obviously require some foot and ankle physiotherapy to strengthen and rehabilitate the area. The physical therapist will determine the extent of the ankle injury:
Ankle Grade 1 ankle sprain:
- Little or no functional loss – the joint can still function and bear some weight
- Stretching or mild tearing of the ligament
- Mild pain, swelling and joint stiffness
Grade 2 ankle sprain:
- Moderate to severe pain – weightbearing is very painful
- Severe tearing of the ligaments
- Moderate instability of the joint
- Swelling and stiffness
Grade 3 ankle sprain:
- Severe swelling
- Instability of the joint
- Total rupture of a ligament
- Severe pain initially followed by no pain
If an injury is sustained, we will accurately assess and diagnose the area and determine the best method of ankle treatment and if a referral to a physician is indicated. Usually the advice given by the phsyical therapist initially is RICE principles (rest, ice, compression and elevation), followed by having some manual ankle physio treatment such as soft tissue massage, strengthening and balance and proprioception exercises. Other specific foot and ankle physical therapy treatment may be required depending on the severity of the ankle injury.
There are hundreds of foot injuries and ankle injuries such as stress fractures, plantar fascitiis, avulsion fractures and various types of heel and foot pain, to name only a few ankle and foot injuries.