Case study: Successful treatment of ankle pain

How a three month battle with ankle pain was overcome

A female patient (we’ll call her Kim) presented at The Foot Group with a three month history of right foot ankle pain. This pain however, was located more at the back of the leg/ ankle, with Kim reporting no injuries. She said the pain just started one day and progressively got worse to point where she could not walk for more than 30 minutes before the pain stops her. Kim reported the pain was made worse by prolonged walking, going up hills or stairs. Also her ankle seemed stiff in the mornings and after rest. Kim said that her pain felt quite sharp and the area in question feels constantly bruised.

Initial treatment

Over the three month period she saw her local GP who gave her anti-inflammatories and sent her to a physiotherapist. The physio diagnosed Kim with having Achilles tendinopathy which was due to Kim having tight calf muscles. The physio issued Kim with a series of stretching exercises and told her to continue walking as this would help build strength in the muscle. Kim returned to physio several times where she had massage and ultrasound massage, but was not getting any pain relief.

The Foot Group treatment

When Kim attended The Foot Group she had not had any relief from her ankle pain in three months. One of our qualified podiatrists (we’ll call him Colin) gave Kim a full biomechanical assessment. He assessed her foot and ankle complex, as well as a gait assessment which examined the foot and leg posture and foot forces while walking. Kim was diagnosed with an Achilles Tendinopathy and Achilles bursitis. The assessment showed Kim had poor foot mechanics during her walking gait which was leading to tight calf muscles and subsequent Achilles strain leading to repetitive micro trauma.

Kim was scanned using the 3D system to have custom foot orthotics made with a specific prescription for her rearfoot issue. She was also given a rehab program to do light calf stretching and icing, and was given some footwear advice. Kim was recommended to limit her walking and exercise regime for a short period while the pain and trauma subsides. But was also issued with light foot mobilisation techniques to aid in healing.

Success!

Kim was assessed 8 weeks after receiving her orthotics and reported that her pain had greatly subsided. Kim felt she was about 85% improved. Kim was advised to continue with her rehab and to start back into her exercise slowly, and also to continue to wear her orthotics.

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