Foot and ankle pain: Causes, symptoms and pain relief
In the UK, approximately 3% of GP visits are due to foot or ankle pain.¹
The feet and ankles are some of the most complex, hard-working areas of the body. Most of us will experience pain foot and ankle pain at some point during our lifetime, hardly surprising for an area that contains 26 bones and 33 joints, held together by an involved network of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.
Foot and Ankle Pain Causes
Because the area around the foot and ankle is so complex, there are many different reasons for foot and ankle pain. However, the vast majority of pain in this area is not serious and comes from soft tissue injuries, like sprain or strains, which are short term.
When pain in foot and ankle pain is longer lasting or chronic pain, it may be for one of the following reasons:
- Osteoarthritis – This particular form of arthritis is a typical cause of foot and ankle pain and causes stiffness and inflammation in that area of the body.
- Badly fitting footwear – The wrong fitting footwear can negatively affect weight distribution and cause physical stress to the foot and ankle.
- Congenital foot problems – Foot problems, generally inherited, that occur at birth, cause discomfort and pain.
- Infectious foot problems – Bacterial, viral, or fungal disorders around the foot and ankle cause swelling and pain.
- Nerve damage – This can occur from an injury, or because of abnormal growths in the area e.g., a spur or tumours.
Certain painful conditions are more localised around the ankle:
- Achilles Tendonitis – When the tendon swells it leads to pain in the ankle, heel and calf, particularly felt when standing on tiptoes.
- Bursitis – This occurs when the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the ankle joint become inflamed.
- Broken ankle – Broken bones in the ankle joint can cause severe, stabbing pain.
- Shin Splints – This is pain that appears down either side of the ankle due to swelling in the muscle or tendon.
Some traumatic problems are much more localised in the foot:
- Bunions – This condition is caused by mis-aligned big toe joints.
- Hammertoe – This is a condition that causes the toe to bend out of shape and become almost claw-like.
- Heel spurs – An extraordinary bone growth on the heel.
- Ingrown nails – A well-known complaint, which occurs when toenails dig into the skin painfully.
- Plantar Fasciitis – An excruciating heel condition where pain is caused by inflammation on the bottom of the foot. An underlying reason for this type of foot pain is often running.
Foot and Ankle Pain Treatment
Since the majority of foot and ankle problems are soft tissue injuries, they can usually be managed with RICE treatment at home:
- Rest – Avoid putting weight on the foot and ankle. Move them only to prevent stiffness, but do not exercise.
- Ice – Apply ice to the painful area for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours.
- Compression – Wrap a bandage around the painful area, but not so tightly that it restricts blood flow.
- Elevate – Keep the foot and ankle raised to reduce swelling.
Painkillers like paracetamol can also help to aid discomfort, but anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen should be avoided as they may slow down the healing process.
Using BiowaveGO’s patented technology, you can relieve foot and ankle pain every day without slowing down the healing process or any fear of side effects.
How BiowaveGO Relieves Foot and Ankle Pain
- BioWaveGO’s 100% drug-free pain blocking technology stops pain at the source for long-lasting relief.
- Place the non-invasive electrodes around the part of your ankle and/or foot that is causing the most pain.
- To start treatment, simply turn on your device and use for a full 30-minute session
- Be pain free for up to eight hours – repeat daily
- BioWave has an immediate effect, but there is also a cumulative effect on the nerve signals so prolonged used might have additional benefits
Professional Treatment for Foot and Ankle Pain
If pain in the foot and ankle is not improving after the first couple of days, or even getting worse, see your doctor who can refer you to a foot and ankle specialist:
- Podiatrist – A podiatrist can advise you on the right footwear and medication for chronic foot and ankle pain.
- Physiotherapist – A physiotherapist will be able to give you tailored exercises and stretches to get your foot and ankle moving properly.
- Orthotist – An orthotist is trained in making bespoke braces, splints and insoles for people with foot problems.