The foot and ankle is a very complex system of joints that greatly contribute to how the entire lower extremity moves. There are numerous types of injuries that can occur at the foot and ankle, but in general, they are due to one of three things.
1. Trauma-related injury, such as a sprained ankle or fracture
2. Over-pronation of the foot or excessive drop of the arch when walking
3. Supination or lack of pronation at the foot, very high-arched feet
With a trauma-related injury such as a sprained ankle or fracture, a mechanism or specific incident is usually associated with these types of injuries and are accompanied by swelling and occasionally bruising. A Dynamix therapist will be able to properly assess these types of injuries and determine if physical therapy is appropriate or requires further evaluation with an orthopedic MD.
Over-pronation of the foot or excessive drop of the arch in your foot when walking is the second reason for foot and ankle pain. Pronation is a necessary motion at the foot that allows your feet to conform to the surfaces that you walk on, but, in excess, it can create a large number of issues. Some common diagnoses associated with over-pronation are plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, and shin splints. Over-pronation can be due to structural issues within the foot or due to lack of joint mobility in the ankle or joints of the foot itself. To identify these specific issues, a Dynamix therapist will take you through a functional squat assessment and gait analysis. Often times, over-pronation of the foot is due to a hypomobile or “stuck” ankle joint that reduces the range of motion at the ankle which then causes the foot to have to increase its motion. A Dynamix therapist would then use joint mobilization and often times various taping techniques to increase the ROM at the ankle to reduce the need for over-pronation at the foot. Treatment is then focused on treating the area of irritation, whether it is the plantar fascia, achilles tendon, or other muscle/tendons of the foot/ankle with various forms of soft tissue mobilization and dry needling. All Dynamix therapists are trained in orthotic fitting, which is sometimes required when a structural deformity is identified.
The last category of foot and ankle issues are those that are due to supination or lack of pronation at the foot. These are people that have very high arched feet. Some common diagnoses associated with supinators are metatarsalgia, stress fractures, Morton’s nueroma and recurrent ankle sprains. Similar to those with over-pronation issues, mobility at the ankle is very important and a Dynamix therapist will perform joint mobilization at the ankle to ensure normal motion is present. Shoe type is also very important for those with this foot posture and a Dynamix therapist would be able to make proper recommendations as to what shoe is best for your foot type.
If you have experienced a foot or ankle injury, please call your nearest Dynamix facility for a free consultation.