Foot and Ankle Treatments
We see a large variety of foot and ankle injuries here at West Pennant Hills Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Centre. Physiotherapy can help with foot and ankle pain by providing pain relief with massage and gentle joint mobilisation techniques to help relieve tightness and stiffness in your muscles and joints. We use ultrasound, TENS, and heat packs or ice to help ease your pain. We provide education and advice on how long you need to stay off sport, safe exercise during recovery, and guide you through a comprehensive rehabilitation program. We tailor our exercises to your sport or activity, and target all components such as flexibility, strength, balance, stability, endurance and power. If required, we can fit you with orthotics to help correct your foot and leg alignment, provide ankle guards for sport to help prevent reinjury, and we can also perform taping to provide extra support.
Ankle sprains occur when you roll, twist, or turn your ankle in an awkward way, causing the ligaments in the ankle to be partially or completely torn. The ligaments help to stabilise the joint and prevent excessive movement. A sprained ankle is when the ligaments are forced beyond their normal range of motion and fibres are torn. The most common ankle sprains involve injury to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Depending on the severity, ankle sprains can be associated with swelling, bruising, tenderness, decreased range of motion, or difficulty weight bearing. Physiotherapy helps to restore full range of motion in the injured ankle. We can provide pain relief with ultrasound, ice and TENS. We provide a comprehensive exercise program targeting range of motion, flexibility, strength, balance, stability and endurance. We give advice on treatment and safe exercise during recovery, aiming to get you back to your normal activities or sport as quickly as possible. We provide advice on how long you should remain off your sport and what exercises are safe to do in the meantime. We provide specific exercises tailored to your sport or activity to make sure you are ready for all the challenges that your sport entails. We also perform taping to help provide extra support or fit you with an ankle guard if appropriate, to prevent further injury when you return to sport.
Syndesmosis Injury (High Ankle Sprain)
A high ankle sprain is an injury to the higher ankle ligaments, which are located above the ankle joint and connect the two bones in your shin (tibia and fibula). The syndesmosis is the joint where the two leg bones are connected by ligaments and connective tissue. High ankle sprains are much less common but can be more disabling. They often occur when your foot is planted on the ground and then your foot is excessively twisted outwards. If the sprain is stable, it can usually be treated conservatively with a walking boot, however unstable sprains may require surgical intervention. Physiotherapy for a syndesmosis injury is recommended with both conservative management and post-operative rehabilitation. We provide pain relief through massage, ultrasound, ice and TENS. We also prescribe you with an exercise program to help improve your range of motion, strength, balance, stability and endurance. We guide you through your rehabilitation with sport specific exercises to assist you in getting back to your sport as quickly as possible.
An ankle fracture occurs when there is a break in the bone. The most common fractures are avulsion fractures which can also occur with ankle sprains. All fractures need to be appropriately managed to avoid long-term problems. A physiotherapist can help to diagnose a fracture and refer you to get an x-ray. If a fracture is detected we can provide you with a walking boot (CAM boot) to assist you with walking. With an avulsion fracture we can commence physiotherapy immediately after the injury, but with a more significant fracture we wait until it is healed. When it is appropriate, we do gentle soft tissue massage and joint mobilisations to help decrease swelling and improve your range of motion. We provide pain relief with ultrasound, ice and TENS. As the fracture heals, we guide you through a comprehensive exercise program aimed at improving your flexibility, strength, endurance, balance and stability. We tailor your exercises to your sport or activity so that you are well equipped when it comes time to return to sport or gym.
Stress fractures are an incomplete fracture or crack in the bone. They are often caused as a result of training with excessive or highly repetitive load (eg running), resulting in gradual bony damage. Imaging may be required to diagnose a stress fracture. Physiotherapy treatment will initially involve a period of immobilisation in a walking boot, in combination with massage to help with pain relief. As the fracture heals, we provide you with an exercise program to help restore range of motion, strength, balance and endurance, aiming to get you back to your favourite sport or activity. The physiotherapist will guide you as to the appropriate length of time in the boot, how long you should be off sport, what you can do for exercise in the meantime, and what exercise is appropriate to start with, and when you can return to training and your regular sport or gym program.
Some of the most common achilles injuries include achilles tendinopathy or achilles tendon rupture. Achilles tendinopathy is an overuse injury of the achilles tendon. It is often caused by biomechanics problems such as muscle imbalances and poor foot alignment. Training intensity and poor footwear can also contribute to the problem. Physiotherapy identifies and addresses the underlying cause. We provide a comprehensive exercise program to target any muscle imbalances or weaknesses that you may have. We also give advice on modifying your training load and gradually building you back to your full capacity. We can also fit you with orthotics to help correct your foot alignment. Achilles tendon rupture is an acute injury in which the Achilles tendon is either partially or completely torn. Management can either be conservative, which will include immobilisation in a boot, or you may require a surgical repair. Physiotherapy is important in both cases, as we work to restore your range of motion and strength with a comprehensive exercise program and help you get back to the activities that you love doing. Physiotherapy treatment includes soft tissue massage for the swelling, gentle ankle joint mobilisations to restore flexibility, and ice, TENS and ultrasound for pain relief. It is important to rehab the achilles and calf properly to help prevent ongoing weakness and balance issues. If left untreated it is common for there to be a persistent limp which can overtime affect the knee, lower back and hip joints. Physiotherapy exercises will help to address any weakness, fatigue, balance issues, which is important before you return to your normal exercise or sport to prevent further injury.
The plantar fascia is a piece of strong connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. It creates the foot’s arch, by connecting the heel bone to the toes, and is very important in assisting with walking. Plantar fasciitis (or fasciopathy) is inflammation of the plantar fascia, either through overstretching, overuse, or a medical condition. It is also often associated with a heel spur, which is a bony prominence poking out from the heel bone. Many people can have heel spurs without any pain. Symptoms include pain under the heel which is worse in the morning when taking the first few steps, pain after prolonged sitting or standing, pain is worse when barefoot on hard surfaces, and symptoms usually improve with activity as the foot warms up. Physiotherapy treatment initially focuses on reducing pain through massage, ultrasound, ice and TENS. We also give advice on modifying footwear, and modifying your training load. If necessary we can fit you with orthotics to help distribute the pressure to the feet more evenly. A stretching program is also prescribed to help relieve the pain. Once the pain begins to settle, treatment aims to improve strength and load capacity. Exercises focused on strengthening the calf and small foot muscles are prescribed and gradually progressed as the plantar fascia is able to tolerate more load. Once adequate strength is restored, we aim to work on power by adding speed elements to the strength work. For those who are runners, a running assessment would be undertaken to examine your running technique to look for any contributing factors. Corrective strategies would then be taught to address any poor running techniques identified.