Foot Ankle and Heel Pain Exercises – Top 10
Download our FREE exercise sheet showing strengthening and rehab exercises for common lower limb and foot problem such as shin splints, ankle sprain, Achilles and Plantar Fasciitis.
Are you suffering from foot, ankle or heel pain (for example Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis / policeman's heel, ankle ligament sprain) ? If so here is a selection of our most commonly prescribed rehab exercises. We've even included how to tape your foot.
Ankle sprain: An inversion sprain (twisted ankle) will most often cause ligament damage. It may also cause tendon damage. Severe cases will need correct analysis with ultrasound or MRI imaging. However mild cases can benefit from rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) initially, followed by exercises to strengthen the damaged tendons and support the ankle.
Achilles tendinitis: involves inflammation and damage to the large tendon at the back of the ankle inserting into the heel bone. Problems can involve the tendon sheath (Tenosynovitis) or the tendon itself (tendinopathy). It can be important to know the exact diagnosis and investigations such as ultrasound or MRI scans can evaluation the extent of any damage. These investigation are particularly important if a tear of the tendon is suspected. This is often associated with a sudden onset of pain, coinciding with popping sensation or noice (as if you have been kicked in the back of the heel). In such cases, immobilisation (in a boot) or even a surgical opinion may be necessary. However in the absence of a full or partial tear, in the presence of tendinopathy, strengthening exercises such as those show in this handout often form part of the rehab protocol. Such exercises stimulate the tenocyte cells within the tendon to lay down more collagen within the tendon, thereby strengthening the tendon over time and reduced inflammation. It can take several weeks of these exercises for them to work, so stick with it!
Other common tendon around the ankle that can suffer with tendinopathy include the Tibialis Posterior Tendon on the inside of the ankle. This tendon helps invert the ankle (turn inwards) and strengthen the foot arches. We've also include exercises to cover this tendon in the protocol.
Other problems can occur in the sole of the foot, most commonly Plantar Fasciitis which involves inflammation of the tendon attaching between the heel bone (calcaneum) and ball of the foot (metatarsals). Investigations may be required to rule out other issues such as “plantar plate tears” but in the absence of such problems, several of the exercises in this protocol should help with recovering from plantar fasciitis.
We recommend performing all the exercises in the this protocol, even if you only suffer (or have suffered in the past) with one of the diagnoses, outlined above. The reason for this is that one problem can often lead to another. Even if you don't currently suffer with foot, heel or ankle pain, we recommend building these exercises into your exercise routine (every so often), particularly if you are involved with dynamic sports such as racket sports, soccer, rugby, running etc, as they will serve as excellent preventative (prehab) exercises.
If you need more advice and support on foot, ankle or heel pain, check out our YouTube channel, join our facebook / members group (you automatically be sent you details after adding this FREE exercise sheet the basket and checking out). For an even more bespoke program or to set up an online consultation just get in touch.