The leg, ankle, and foot are important for everyday activities, such as walking and standing, but in many athletic events they are absolutely vital. A lot of athletic events involve some form of running. Running puts a lot of stress through the leg, ankle, and foot. As such injuries frequently occur to these areas. These injuries can make it really hard to compete and can be a nuisance throughout your normal day. Usually leg, ankle, and foot injuries are either due to overuse or traumatic injury. Through the use of an evidence based examination these injuries can be properly evaluated and diagnosed. With this information it can be determined what the best line of treatment is. Often leg, ankle, and foot injuries can be treated through conservative rehabilitation such as what we do at Tauberg Chiropractic and Rehabilitation.
Causes Of Leg, Ankle, And Foot Pain
There are many different injuries that can occur to the leg, ankle, and foot. All three structures are complex and can be injured in many different ways. Some of the most common leg, foot, and ankle injuries are: Achilles tendinitis, ankle sprains, metatarsalgia, plantar fasciitis, shin splint, and turf toe.
Achilles tendinitis occurs where the muscles of the back of the leg attaches to the foot. This is known as the Achilles tendon. The pain in the Achilles tendon is often caused by walking, running or jumping, which all put stress on the back of the heel. When the muscles in the back of the leg contract it pulls the heel up which pushes the toes down. This is a key part of forward locomotion. The area can become irritated as it can be overused in athletic events. Palpation of the area, in office orthopedic tests, and resisted dorsal flexion of the foot are all used to evaluate Achilles tendinitis. Occasionally MRI maybe necessary if a rupture is suspected. PRICE is the initial treatment for Achilles tendinitis. This is then followed up with rehabilitative stretches and exercises.
Ankle Sprains in Pittsburgh and Fox Chapel areas may be the most common injury to the leg, ankle, or foot. Ankle sprains most commonly occur as one puts their weight onto the outside of their foot. When one puts their weight onto the outside of the foot it forces the foot to hyper-invert. This cause the ligaments on the outside of the ankle to stretch and tear. The tear can occur in three different grades just like most other sprains. When severe enough there can also be avulsion of the bone, which increases the time it takes for the injury to heal. The condition is diagnosed through the patient’s history and a physical examination of the ankle. Resisted motion, palpation, and in office orthopedic tests are the parts of the physical examination that are used to diagnose the ankle. The condition is initially treated with PRICE. Which stands for protect, rest, ice, compress, and elevate. The injury must then be rehabbed using exercises and stretches to strengthen and train the ankle to avoid further ankle sprains. Some complicated ankle sprains may require MRI to make a definitive diagnosis and in those cases surgery may be required.
Metatarsalgia is pain that occurs on the bottom of the foot. It is believed to be due to stretching of the transverse ligament. This injury is generally due to overuse of this ligament. Jogging, jumping, and running are all causative factors. The condition can be diagnosed by palpating the area. The management for metatarsalgia at Tauberg Chiropractic & Rehabilitation Center should include manipulation, soft tissue work, and a change in foot ware.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common foot problems. Plantar fasciitis is caused by slight tearing or overstretching of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a structure which helps to support the arch of the foot. This injury is usually due to overuse. One will feel sharp pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. The pain is commonly worse in the morning or when not performing activity for long periods of time. The patient’s history and a physical examination that involves palpation of the foot are used to diagnose plantar fasciitis. When one has plantar fasciitis it can take several months to heal. The treatment should include soft tissue work, and stretching of the plantar fascia. Exercises and orthotics should also be used to strengthen the arch and lessen the amount of stress in the fascia. Occasionally injections or surgery may be needed to relieve the condition.
Shin splints occur in the legs as a deep ache that is worse with either standing, walking, or running. Shin splints can happen either in the front of the leg or the back of the leg. For the most part shin splints are an overuse injury. Shin splints occurs as the muscles of the legs are essentially used to absorb the force of the foot contacting the ground. The muscles in the leg are stressed and may tear slightly similar to a tendinitis. Shin splints are evaluated through their history and through palpation. Anterior shin splints will be painful to palpation on the outside edge of the tibia. Posterior shin splints are painful to palpation in on the behind portion of the outside of the leg. Shin splints are initially treated with PRICE, which stands for protect, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. After the initial stage of treatment a change in orthotics as well as rehabilitation exercises can effectively treat shin splints.
Turf toe occurs in the first toe or the big toe. The injury is often caused when an athlete’s toe is bent forcefully backwards. This can happen for many reasons. A common one is when running and for whatever reason the toe slips back during the “toe off” phase of gait and as a result is hyperextended. The patient’s history of toe hyperextension and palpation allow one to diagnose turf toe. Treatment for this condition includes PRICE, followed by rehabilitation exercises and soft tissue work.
Treatment For Leg, Ankle, And Foot Pain
Treatment such as what we provide at Tauberg Chiropractic & Rehabilitation in Pittsburgh and Fox Chapel areas is often the first line of therapy for leg, ankle, and foot pain. To see if we can help you with your pain please call us at 412-517-8124.
- Souza, T. A. (2016). Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning.