Ankle pain can be caused by a range of conditions. Some common injuries are sprained ankles, broken ankle bones, bursitis, and tendonitis. Although these issues usually improve within a few months, patients need specialized care and physical therapy. Read on to find out what you can expect when you visit your Victoria, BC or Kelowna, BC foot doctor and physical therapist.

Physical Therapy for Ankle Pain: What to Expect

If you’ve had pain in your ankles for several weeks, come to Island Foot Clinics. It’s important to get a diagnosis before you start seeing your physical therapist. Once your condition has been diagnosed, you can take your medical notes to the physio, who will then come up with a personalized treatment plan.

As part of physical therapy, you might have to change the way you walk and stand or wear orthotics. Your therapist might also manipulate your tissues to relieve pain and restore mobility. To make sure the treatment is effective, you have to closely follow the expert’s direction. They might give you exercises and stretches to do at home.

A Comprehensive Assessment at the Victoria, BC or Kelowna, BC Clinic 

The ankle joint is delicate and prone to injury, especially because so much weight is placed on it every day. After your injury, you have to visit a foot doctor as soon as possible to get a diagnosis. They will have a look at your ankle and perform imaging studies like X-rays to figure out whether your condition is related to the bones, tendons, ligaments, or bursae in your joint.

If you have a serious ankle condition like a broken bone, you can’t take part in physical therapy right away. Instead, you have to stay off your feet, undergo medical treatment, and take medication. You might need to use assistive devices like crutches to walk around. Once your tissues have healed, you can visit a physical therapist, who will help you to regain your mobility and prevent future injuries.

A Treatment Plan

At the clinic, we provide all our patients with a personalized treatment plan that helps them to recover from their injuries or manage their chronic conditions. This might include holistic methods, assistive devices, physical therapy, and minimally invasive treatments like injections. If we believe that you need physical therapy, we’ll recommend an expert in your area.

Provide your physical therapist with all your medical records before the first appointment, so they can prepare treatments that suit your needs. During your session, they might ask you about the pain you’ve been experiencing and how it limits your movement. They’ll also want to know about the activities you participate in. The more you tell them about your lifestyle and habits, the better they can help you.

A Posture and Gait Assessment 

Optimal posture is when all three curves of the spine are properly aligned. Unfortunately, most people don’t have excellent posture because they sit and hunch too much, and they don’t do enough exercise. Even some athletes have postural problems due to the repetitive nature of their movements. Good physical therapists always take into consideration an individual’s posture before manipulating their tissues and recommending exercises.

During your first appointment, your therapist might watch you as you stand, sit, and walk. They will ask you to perform certain movements, so they can figure out which muscles are over or underdeveloped. If your gait isn’t properly balanced, they might recommend orthotics. These devices change the way your weight is distributed on your feet and therefore improve your alignment when you walk or run.

Manipulation and Mobilization

Sometimes, physical therapists use manipulation techniques to release muscles and improve mobility. The movements are usually very fast and precise. Although manipulation is sometimes performed on the feet and ankles, most physical therapists focus on the neck and back. This is because the spine affects the patient’s overall posture. If it isn’t properly aligned, all the other joints are affected.

Mobilization is a similar technique, but it is much slower. The aim is to reduce pain and improve flexibility. Your physical therapist might mobilize the ligaments and muscles in your joints to break up scar tissue. Sometimes, the movements are very gentle, but they can also be vigorous. The optimal technique depends on your condition.

Exercises and Stretches 

If you want to get rid of your ankle pain, you have to perform the exercises and stretches your physical therapist recommends. Once they’ve examined you and determined which muscles are weak, they’ll provide you with several exercises that strengthen and stabilize your joints. They might also recommend stretches if they believe that muscle tightness is contributing to your issue.

Some conditions require stretching and strengthening several times a day, especially during the acute phase. If you’ve been told to perform exercises every few hours, set a timer on your phone or use a stopwatch to keep track. The better you follow your physical therapist’s directions, the more quickly your condition will heal.

When Should I See a Physical Therapist? 

Don’t see a physical therapist if you have an acute injury that has not yet been diagnosed. Instead, visit a foot doctor in Kelowna, BC or Victoria, BC. At Island Foot Clinics, we can determine which tissues are injured and administer the appropriate treatment. If you have a serious ankle condition, you might not be able to participate in physical therapy for several weeks.

Once your injury has started to heal, and you can place pressure on your ankles without severe pain, you’re ready to see a physical therapist. Book an initial session to find out what you need to do to get better. Your therapist might recommend three to eight sessions, depending on the severity of your condition and the chosen treatment method.

What Are the Most Common Treatments for Ankle Issues? 

The treatment you receive depends on your injury. Ankle sprains and muscle strains can usually be treated at home. You might have to rest, elevate, and ice your leg for several days. If you need to move around, we might advise you to wear a boot so you don’t place too much pressure on your ankle joint.

If you have bursitis or tendonitis, stretches and strengthening exercises are crucial. You might also need minimally invasive treatments like injections if the pain doesn’t ease over time. Broken ankles often require more extensive treatments, so you might have to wear a cast for several weeks if you’ve broken your medial or lateral malleolus.

Do I Need Surgery? 

Most people with ankle issues don’t need surgery. Conditions like sprains, strains, broken bones, tendonitis, and bursitis can take a long time to heal, but minimally invasive treatments are usually sufficient.

You might need surgery if your condition doesn’t improve within a few months, or you’ve had a serious accident and broken multiple bones. At the clinic, we will try to resolve your ankle issue with minimally invasive methods. However, we can also perform a wide range of operations that stabilize your joints and improve your mobility.

Physical therapy helps to restore movement and function after an injury or chronic condition. If you’ve had ankle pain for several weeks, you might need to see a physical therapist. They will assess your injury and posture and then come up with a personalized treatment plan. Call us or send us a message at Island Foot Clinics in Kelowna, BC or Victoria, BC to learn more about ankle treatment.