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3 Possible Causes (& Treatments ) for Heel and Ankle Pain

Heel and ankle pain

Why Do I Have Heel and Ankle Pain? 3 Possible Causes and How to Find Treatment

Heel and ankle pain is more common (and uncomfortable) than most people realize. It can be due to a number of causes and manifest in multiple ways. The pain can feel sharp and hit with every step you take or it can be a dull, constant ache that lingers, having a profound impact on quality of life.

For every mile you walk, 60 tons of stress is placed on each foot. Your feet are designed to handle heavy loads, but too much stress can push them over the limit. Considering most Americans log up to 75,000 miles on their feet by the time they reach age 50, foot care is important. 

Find out some common causes of heel and ankle pain and how to find effective treatment. 

3 Common Causes of Heel and Ankle Pain

1. Plantar Fasciitis

One common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, across the arch and attaching to the heel and the base of the toes. This condition can stem from a variety of underlying causes but usually develops gradually, most often affects men aged 40-70 and can even become a chronic ailment if not treated early and effectively.

According to research, 1 in 10 people are affected by plantar fasciitis. They suffer from classic symptoms, such as pain that is most intense in the mornings with the first steps out of bed or later in the day when walking on a hard floor barefoot. 

2. Arthritis

The foot has over 30 joints that can be affected by arthritis. Arthritis in the foot involves the wearing down, degeneration or loss of articular cartilage in the joints of the foot and ankle. It can cause pain and stiffness and make it difficult to walk or perform daily activities. Proper treatment can help patients manage pain levels and remain active. 

3. Injuries: Sprains and Fractures

An ankle sprain is a condition where the ligaments become stretched, and can either be slightly or completely torn. Sprains can happen with any sport. They’re the most common sports injuries, with an estimated 25,000 occurring every day in the US. Everyday activities can result in ankle sprains too, not just in athletics. They can happen at any time, from stepping in a hole, slipping and falling or putting your weight down on with your foot turned inward.

A fracture occurs when the bone partially or completely breaks. The most common cause of this ankle injury is trauma (falls, accidents, sports). 

See more common ankle conditions >>

Treatment Options for Heel and Ankle Pain

Conditions that cause heel and ankle pain will require different treatment options. Be prepared to tell your physical therapist when you first experience the pain, exactly where you’re experiencing the pain, what activities cause and are limited by the pain, and whether the pain is worse in the morning or night. 

Using our unique One2Four approach, your therapist will examine your foot and look for signs of swelling. They will also ask if you have had any previous heel or ankle injuries. You may be asked to do other physical tests such as walking or balancing on one foot to help your therapist pinpoint the cause, severity and location of your pain.

For some immediate relief at home, start by minimizing any activities that aggravate the condition. Rest. Also, try using a frozen water bottle to massage the tissue on the bottom of your foot while at the same time, providing some anti-inflammatory  benefits with the ice. Stretching the hamstrings, calves and toes can also help. 

Physical Therapy to Manage the Pain

Don’t let fear of heel or ankle pain keep you from doing what you love most. At Twin Boro, we have specialists knowledgeable in physical therapy treatments for heel and ankle pain. We do not use a “cookie cutter” approach, we provide specialized treatment to help you recover and find pain relief. 

Call 1-877-304-3000 to schedule your no-obligation appointment at one of our 23 convenient New Jersey clinics

Twin Boro Physical Therapy: Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey

Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey, Twin Boro has provided NJ residents with high quality physical therapy and rehab for close to 40 years! It’s our award-winning approach, proven results and reputation that sets us apart. By incorporating the One2Four program into each patient’s program, the latest and most reliable scientific research and techniques are incorporated into effective evidence-based practice. We deliver only the highest standard of care with the unique One2Four approach.

It’s no surprise that Twin Boro Physical Therapy has also been voted the best physical therapy practice in New Jersey by the readers of mycentraljersey.com.

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