Parts of the Feet That Develop Pain

The foot and ankle contains more than 26 bones, 33 joints, and dozens of soft tissue structures such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The foot plays a crucial role in sensation, proprioception (sense of where the body is in space), balance, stability, and movement. Pain and problems in the foot and ankle can originate from dysfunction in the ankle. Or they may stem from dysfunction in distant areas, such as the pelvis and hip. Improper footwear, prolonged standing, or too much walking or running can lead to pain and injury. Health conditions, such as gout, cause foot pain. Due to its complexity and importance, injury to the foot/ankle should be treated by a skilled medical professional.

Physical therapists commonly see such problems as:

  • Sprains, strains or fractures
  • Referred pain from muscular dysfunction
  • Achilles tendonitis or tendinopathy; tendinopathies in other tendons in the ankle
  • Pain secondary to bunions or other structural sources
  • Pain or dysfunction secondary to arthritis, gout, or other conditions
  • Plantar fasciitis

Foot Treatments Available From Physical Therapists

Physical therapy treatments include manual therapy, use of modalities such as laser, therapeutic exercise prescription, and education and advice on proper footwear or orthotics.