Foot & Ankle Specialist

Urgently Ortho

Orthopedic Urgent Care & Sports Medicine Clinic

Foot & Ankle Q & A

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Many issues can cause or contribute to ankle and foot pain, including fractures, sprains, tendonitis, and arthritis. Ephraim Dickinson, MD and Breiana Brady, PA-C at Urgently Ortho provide patients from the San Francisco area with advanced treatment options for ankle and foot pain, helping them relieve symptoms and enjoy improved mobility and function.

What are the most common causes of ankle and foot pain?

Feet are composed of an array of structures and tissues, including bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves, and an issue with any of these components can cause foot pain. Some people are more prone to developing ankle and foot pain, including athletes and people with jobs that require long periods of standing, people who are older or overweight, and those with chronic diseases, like diabetes and arthritis.

Some of the most common causes of ankle and foot pain are:

  • Sprained ankle
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Torn ligaments
  • Metatarsal fracture
  • Arthritis
  • Bunions
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Flat feet (“fallen” arches)
  • Hammertoes
  • Shoes that don't fit properly
  • Achilles sprain
  • Calf strain
  • Ankle fracture
  • Peroneal tendonitis
  • Shin splints
  • Stress fracture
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Achilles tear
  • Turf toe

Swelling and loss of mobility often accompany ankle pain. Some injuries can also cause numbness in the toes.

What techniques are used to diagnose ankle and foot pain?

Diagnosis begins with a patient history and a review of symptoms, followed by a careful examination of the foot to pinpoint the source of pain as well as its underlying cause. In some cases, diagnostic imaging tests like X-rays or MRIs may be ordered to look “inside” the foot or ankle to determine the cause of pain and other symptoms.

Passive and active movements may be used to pinpoint the cause of pain, and the foot will be gently palpated to look for areas of tenderness. Some issues, like corns and calluses, can be easily diagnosed with a visual examination, while more complex problems may require diagnostic imaging like X-rays.

What causes ankle sprains?

Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments that hold the joint together stretch beyond their normal limits, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage that take time to heal. Sometimes, the ligaments tear apart. Sprains cause pain in and around the ankle, especially when trying to bend the joint or place weight on it as well as local tenderness, swelling, and instability in the joint.

A snapping or popping noise can accompany the sprain as the stretching of the ligament occurs. Sports injuries from playing games, such as football and rugby, are common causes of sprains and strains.

How are ankle and foot pain treated?

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of pain. For instance, foot pain related to diabetes will focus on treating the specific symptoms in addition to managing blood sugar levels. Sprains, strains, and fractures may require splinting, casting, or even surgery to repair broken bones, torn ligaments or tendons.

Often, treatment will involve oral or injected medication to relieve pain and inflammation combined with physical therapy to alleviate pain and restore mobility and strength. Simple in-office procedures can treat issues like corns, calluses, and toenail fungus. Custom orthotics and ankle braces play a major role in treating many types of ankle and foot pain, and in preventing pain from recurring following surgery or another treatment.

Call Urgently Ortho today or book online to make an appointment with Dr. Ephraim Dickinson and find the source of your foot or ankle pain.



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