There are a variety of conditions that can affect the foot or ankle. These may involve the joints and the surrounding soft tissues. Pain may be caused by a specific injury or may gradually build up over time.
Most foot and ankle pain has a simple cause and will resolve. However, even more persistent problems, such as long standing ligament or tendon problems, or osteoarthritis can be self-managed successfully.
How can I help myself to get better?
Minor injuries, such as mild sprains and strains, can be treated at home and should start to improve after a few days. Using a protection, rest and ice regime initially can help.
The self-management advice provided below can help minimise symptoms and facilitate the healing process.
Getting the right pain relief to allow you to return to your usual activities is the key to success in the early stages. Pain killers, such as ibuprofen, paracetamol and gels can help. Make sure you discuss this with your GP or pharmacist.
If pain is the result of overuse or overtraining try to reduce the amount of activity (rather than stopping it altogether) that may be exacerbating your symptoms for a short period, until the pain settles. You should then aim to slowly work back up to your previous activity level. If exercising does not affect your symptoms or improves them, try to stay as active as possible.
Sedentary and inactive lifestyles increase the risk of developing pain and can also delay your recovery. Being active for 30 minutes in your day can make a big difference in your overall health and improve your pain.
Keeping your foot and ankle moving can be important to stop structures stiffening up. Some basic exercises can be useful in easing your ankle pain and to help it move better.
When should I see my GP or physiotherapist?
Many episodes of foot/ ankle pain get better or improve on their own, however you should seek medical advice for the following:
However you should seek medical advice for the following:
- After a sudden traumatic or high impact injury
- If the pain is severe or the foot or ankle is hot, red or very swollen
- If you have tingling or numbness in the foot
- If you develop acute foot/ankle pain at the same time as feeling unwell you should see your doctor immediately.
There's good evidence to show that shoes that don't fit properly can cause foot pain.
Your foot may change size with weight gain/loss, arthritis, age and swelling. Footwear should fit properly and support and comfort should be the main consideration.
Specific foot and ankle conditions
If you have been given a diagnosis, below are leaflets to help you manage your specific condition. These have been approved by our clinical staff to be the best information for patients.