Foot & Ankle

Foot or ankle pain is a common complaint and can be caused by many different things. As we use our feet and ankles so much in everyday activities, it can be very worrying when it is painful to walk, run, or jump. They are built to support these activities and are very strong, so it is difficult to damage them. Most painful ankles will improve and get better with time and a little help.

How Can I Help Myself?

It is good to continue to use your foot or ankle as normally as possible but you might need to make some adjustments to what you do for a while. There are things that you can do to help yourself while your ankle or foot is painful.

  • Use some strapping or a support to help your foot initially. In some cases you may need to relieve the weight on your foot for a while. You can use a stick or crutches to do this.
  • Change how long you spend on your feet at one time, taking small rests as you need them.
  • Gradually build up your exercises and weight bearing activities, to help your return to full function.
  • Getting fitter and stronger can also help reduce your foot and ankle pain. These joints take our body weight during use. Because of this it is helpful for them if you are closer to your ideal weight.
  • You can also try taking pain relief medication and/or using ice or heat.

The College of Podiatry has a range of information about common Foot Problems including blisters & verrucas, sweaty feet, ageing feet, and many others.

The British Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society has an extensive FAQs on the differences between chiropodists, podiatrists, orthopaedics, and many others.

For some virtual consultations we may ask you to send in a photograph of your feet to support your assesment. You can find out how to do this by clicking here.

What Exercise Can I Do?

Even when your ankle or foot is sore it is safe to do exercise. This can really help to regain movement and strength. It also promotes using your ankle or foot normally again. If you continue to go to the gym, an exercise class, or swimming you may want to change how much you do for a time.
There are some examples of exercises to do below. You can use our symptom tracker to check if what you are doing is helping you to improve.

Would an X-Ray or Scan Help?

X-rays and scans can help for a small number of people and in certain situations. However, most of the time it shows us things that are normal for the age of your foot/ankle and are not related to your pain. These sorts of findings will not help the foot/ankle get better. This is why your GP or clinician may say that it is not needed.

Should I Self Refer?

Most foot and ankle pain will settle naturally in time with little or no help. Occasionally you may need some extra help to get your foot and ankle better.
If you feel you would like to talk to a healthcare professional to help you further with your foot/ankle you can fill in a self referral form.