The foot and ankle are two very complex structures, with large amounts of bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and nerves. Therefore there can be many different causes for ankle and foot pain and injury.
Symptoms in your foot and ankle can include different types of pain including sharp, shooting, burning, throbbing or stabbing pains and can be constant or intermittent – i.e. come and go. Your symptoms can also refer from your back, hip or knee joints and if so, you may also be getting pins and needles, tingling, weakness, numbness, other strange sensations or pain in one or both of your legs and feet.
If the pain came on slowly and is at the back of the heel, you could be experiencing an Achilles tendinopathy.
If the pain came on slowly and is in the sole of the foot, it could be plantar fascitis.
If you have twisted your ankle, please click on the link to learn about the most common type of ankle ligament sprain.
If the pain is down the front of the shins, please click here to learn more about shin splints.
If you fell, had an accident or the pain came on suddenly then you may have torn a ligament or cartilage or even suffered a fracture, so you need to get the foot and ankle assessed by a Physiotherapist or Osteopath ASAP. Even if you have not had a traumatic injury, it is essential that you get pain and other symptoms assessed by a Physiotherapist or Osteopath so that you do not do further damage.
Clicking or crunching in the ankles can be caused by a number of things – please click on the link to learn more about ankle clicking.
Scroll further for information about common foot and ankle injuries and exercises that may be included in your treatment.
The foot has 26 bones starting with the phalanges, three of which make up each toe (apart from the big toe which has two), the five long metatarsal bones and the two small, oval-shaped sesamoid bones. Moving towards the ankle there are then seven tarsal bones – the navicular, cuboid, three cuneiforms and the cuboid. There is also the heel bone called the calcaneus and the talus bone that sits on top of this. The ends of the long bones of the lower leg, the tibia and fibula, sit either side of the talus forming the ankle joint. All of the bones are held together with lots of ligaments and fascia as well as the small muscles of the foot.
Foot stability is also greatly affected by the stability of other joints further up the chain, particularly the hips. Therefore treatment of a foot problem should always include and assessment of your whole lower limb biomechanics, and correction as needed.
The foot can move up and down, side to side and rotate inwards and outwards. All of these movements take place in the different stages of walking, running and jumping, if these motions are not occurring normally this will impact on your function.
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