Foot and Ankle Problems
The foot is the foundation of movement of the lower extremity.
There are 26 bones and 33 joints in the human foot and ankle, and the height of arches and the shape of the toes vary from person to person. There are many things you can do to keep your feet healthy, but there are some times when it's important to see a professional foot and ankle specialist to diagnose your foot or ankle problem.
Pain in the foot indicates that there is something wrong with either the interaction of internal structures of the foot or with the how the foot is interacting with external influences. How and when the pain occurs and the locations of the pain are the primary clues to what may be causing the pain. When there is pain, the body reacts by changing the way it moves or functions in an effort to reduce the pain. Biomechanical changes or disease may prevent the normal movement and cause further injury.
There are many foot and ankle conditions that can be disabiling so it is always good to know what kind of shape your feet are in.
Follow these simple steps for self-examination.
Skin. Check your skin for calluses, blisters or areas of irritation. Now stand next to your shoes. Are they shaped like your feet or are they causing areas of constriction that may result in calluses, blisters or irritation? Now put your hand inside your shoe. Are there seams, tacks or rough places in the shoe that correspond to the areas of irritation, calluses or blisters on your feet?
Circulation. Look at the color of your toes. Are they red, pink, purple or blue? Press down on the nail of your big toe until the color blanches. Now let go and allow the blood flow to return to your toe. The return of normal color should take 2-5 seconds in a person with average circulation.
Flexibility. How flexible are your toes? Try to pick up a marble (excellent) or a small dishtowel (good). To test your ankle flexibility, hang your heel over the edge of a stair while standing on the stair facing the stair. Now let the heel go below the level of the stair. If this causes pain, stop the test. If your heel goes below the level of the stair without causing strain in your calf, that is excellent. If there is some strain, this can be improved with flexibility exercises.
Sensation. Take a pencil eraser and lightly run it on the top, bottom and both sides of your feet. The sensation should feel equal in all quadrants. It may tickle on the bottom of the feet. That is normal.
Pain. There should be no pain in the average foot.
Balance. A good test for balance involves standing on one foot, with your arms out to the side and your eyes closed. If you are less than 30 years old, you should be able to balance for 15 seconds, 30-40 years old for 12 seconds, 40-50 years old for 10 seconds, and over 50 years old for 7 seconds. This can be improved with exercise
A detailed assessment can help to identify the cause of your ankle and foot problems and enable us to plan a treatment, stretching and strengthening plan. This will assist in creating strength, agility and mobility whilst speeding up recovery times.
Assessment and Treatment can be carried out either at our clinic in Rotherham or in your own home. Our Physiotherapists and Rehabilitation Technicians are trained in specialised hands on treatment techniques and approaches, specific to the treatment of Neurological and Musculoskeletal conditions.