By Michael E. Kriz, PT, DPT, OCS, CFMT
We see many people in our office who have foot and ankle pain. Whether the diagnosis is plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis or foot pain in general, we treat and correct the dysfunctions that contribute to the pain.
When you consider what we ask our feet to do for us all day every day, it’s no wonder that many of us experience pain in the foot and ankle one or more times in our lives. The foot serves two important functions when we walk. First, it accommodates to the surface on which we walk, often many different surfaces in a walk, and must be flexible enough to allow the surface of the foot to reach the floor or ground. Second, as we push forward the foot becomes a rigid lever. This means that the joints all need to be stable and the supporting muscles and ligaments strong enough to maintain the shape of a rigid lever.
Our ankles have tremendous range of motion and are very important because they transfer the weight of our bodies to our feet. There are technically two joints but we Functional Manual Therapists add 2 more joints where the fibula (the smaller of the bones of the lower leg) joint with the tibia (the largest bone in the lower leg). Knowing that all of these joints make up the ankle, you can begin to see how many areas may lead to ankle and foot pain. The soft tissues of muscles, fascia, ligaments and nerves also may limit or allow excessive motions of the foot and ankle and may lead to dysfunction as well.
The surfaces on which we walk, the shoes we wear, or don’t, and the duration of time spent on our feet have tremendous impact on what our feet experience throughout the day. Also, the cumulative effects of those factors over days, weeks and years compound and often show up at a time when we do not connect the dots to understand why we are having pain in the foot or ankle. One of the most illustrative examples we use when talking to clients about the foot and leg is to consider the number of steps one takes in walking a mile. Many people walk for exercises or walk a golf course (more like 4-6 miles). Thanks to technology with Fitbit or Apple watches or other pedometers we can see how many steps we take in a period of time. When you begin to think of the load that one foot supports and then pushes forward when walking and then multiply that load times the number of steps taken per day, you begin to imagine exactly what our feet are responsible for each day.
We take for granted that they should be able to perform this function flawlessly, without pain for our lifespan.
Determining the root cause of pain or dysfunction in someone’s ankle or foot is our focus when we treat. Rather than chase the pain and treat the symptoms, our goal is to find the source of dysfunctions so that the appropriate mechanics and neuromuscular control can be reestablished, and allow the body to heal. Healing allows you to return to recreation, sport or work activities and we strive to return you to those activities as soon as possible with every treatment.
Contact Kriz Physical Therapy Today!
27180 Bay Landing Drive, Ste. 7
Bonita Springs, FL 34135