Why does my foot/ankle hurt?
Foot/ ankle pain is very common. It can sometimes be concerning if it is very sore, but it is rarely because of anything serious. The foot and ankle joints are built to be very strong and good at their job of holding your weight, walking and jumping. They are very difficult to damage.
Will I get better?
Most foot and ankle complaints will improve with time and some simple steps to help yourself. At times it might not feel that your foot/ ankle can get better but very few people need any extra care than the steps below.
What can I do to help myself?
The best advice is to continue to use your foot/ ankle as normally as you can. It may be sensible to make some adjustments to what you do with your foot/ ankle whilst they are sore but it is important to know that using your joints is safe and the right thing to do.
What else can I do?
Exercise, particularly strengthening exercise, is the best medicine for most aches and pains including feet and ankles, even very sore joints. Exercise can be anything that challenges your muscles and does not need to mean going to the gym or the swimming pool, as not everyone enjoys these things.
Being closer to your ideal body weight is likely to help your foot and ankle issues. Interestingly, it is often the process of getting fitter (eating ‘cleaner’ and being more active) that helps the waist line and can help sore joints feel better too!
But my foot/ ankle are sore, should I really be using them and doing exercise?
Yes. You are safe to exercise and use your leg despite the fact that it might be a bit uncomfortable. Often, if you start avoiding things that you find difficult, it becomes more challenging to help your foot/ ankle.
What about an x-ray or scan?
Interestingly, in most cases, having and x-ray or a scan is not useful in helping your foot/ ankle get better. Of course, in certain situations they are important and necessary, but often the results will show you things that are meant to be there or normal for the age of your joints. That might mean that in a number of cases, what the x-ray shows is not really related to why your joints might be sore, which is why your GP or physio may have said that they might not be needed.
I still feel that I need some help.
If your foot or ankle complaint is causing you issues that you feel you would like to discuss with someone, you can be referred to the physiotherapy service by your GP. Your local pharmacist will also be able to provide you with information regarding any appropriate use of over the counter medication.
Top exercise ideas
Here is a selection of exercises that are most useful for helping foot and ankle complaints. Click on the arrows to show the start and finish of each excercise.
Standing. Raise yourself in to the tip toe position and slowly lower.
Sitting with a ball under your foot. Roll the ball from side to side.