Ankle/ foot problems can cause a range of symptoms, including:
You don’t normally need to see a healthcare professional. New onset or flare-up of a longstanding ankle/foot problem should begin to settle within 6 weeks.
What causes ankle / foot problems?
Ankle/foot problems are fairly common and can be caused by injuries such as tripping or going over on your ankle or wear and tear .
Muscle weakness around the ankle can also cause ankle problems to flare-up now and again. It may also be due to a flare-up of an existing problem.
Can this cause problems anywhere else?
You may feel some pain in the muscles around your calf and foot. This should improve as your ankle/foot problem gets better.
Ankle/foot problems can also cause limping. If the limp is severe, using a walking stick on the opposite side to your ankle/foot problem may help.
Keeping active is an essential part of your treatment and recovery and is the single best thing you can do for your health.
Being physically active throughout your recovery can prevent a recurrence of the problem maintain your current levels of fitness – even if you have to modify what you normally do, any activity is better than none keep your other muscles and joints strong and flexible
It’s recommended you stay at or return to work as quickly as possible during your recovery. You don’t need to be pain or symptom-free to return to work.
Pain medication can help to reduce the pain and help you move more comfortably, which can help your recovery.
Speak to your community pharmacist about taking medication or other methods of pain relief. It’s important to take medication regularly.
Resting or moving?
Within the first 24 to 48 hours of onset of an ankle problem you should try to:
rest your ankle in an elevated position but avoid long spells of not moving at all
move your ankle gently for 10 to 20 seconds every hour when you’re awake
After 48 hours:
Try to use your leg more – exercise really helps your ankle and can relieve pain.
Do whatever you normally would and stay at, or return to work – this is important and is the best way to get better.
When going upstairs or downstairs , reduce the strain on your foot/ankle by using a handrail if available.
Avoid sports or heavy lifting until you have less discomfort and good movement. Remember to warm up before sports.
When to speak to a health professional
There has been significant trauma, for example a fall from height or direct blow to the ankle
your ankle/foot is misshapen
your calf is hot, swollen and tender
you’ve difficulty putting weight on your leg
you’ve pain that’s worsening
Help and support
If, after following the above advice, your foot / ankle problem hasn’t improved within 6 weeks a referral to TIMS may be of benefit.
To refer yourself to TIMS you will need to have your NHS number to hand.
These videos have been developed by the clinical teams in Tyneside Integrated Musculoskeletal Service (TIMS) to support the management of patients in our service. If you have not been referred to this resource by TIMS you follow the advice at your own risk.
Ankle rehabilitation An exercise programme for patients following an ankle fracture or trauma, includes exercise, strength and balance work.
Achilles tendinopathy Suggested exercises and advise for patients with Achilles pain associated with Achilles tendinopathy.
Lower Limb strengthening exercises An exercise programme including hip, knee and ankle strengthening exercises with a progression of exercises for each area. Ideal for post trauma, post op or for patients suffering from general deconditioning.
Proprioception/balance exercises Specific balance exercises for patients who have problems with balance, particularly for patients who have suffered an ankle injury.
Versus Arthritis foot and ankle pain booklet The foot is a complex and hardworking structure that can quite often be aﬀected by arthritis and related problems. This booklet explains the causes of foot pain, what treatments are available and how you can best look after your feet. It also explains what you should look for when choosing shoes and suggest where you can get more help and advice.
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