Ankle & Foot Pain

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Peripheral Neuropathy Relief in the Feet & Legs

Buy a printable worksheetPeripheral neuropathy is basically when you have damage to your peripheral nerves from either a trauma or disease. This can cause your hands and/or feet become numb and tingly. I'll focus on the feet/legs for this video.

Peripheral neuropathy can be caused from diabetes, medications, or even chemotherapy, as well as many other things. Having good flexibility and strength in these areas will help.

The first stretch will be a calf stretch. Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. You can bend the leg you are not stretching towards you. Put a belt, towel, or dog leash around the ball of your foot. Keep your back and knee straight, and relax your ankle. Pull your foot towards you with the strap until you feel a stretch. Hold this for 30 seconds, and do it three times on each side.

Next are ankle pumps. With your legs straight out in front of you, place a roll just under your ankle so your heel can move freely. Trying to keep your leg straight and moving only at your ankle, pull your foot up towards you, and then push it down like you are pushing on a peddle. Then you will do ankle circles. Again, try not to move your whole leg. Keep the movement at the ankle. Do ten one direction, and then reverse it and do ten the other direction.

Now you will do a simple straight leg raise (SLR). You want to squeeze your muscles tight to lock out the knee and pull your toes towards your head to keep the whole leg straight. This will work your hip flexor muscles when you lift your leg off the ground. Use slow controlled movements to make sure you are using the muscles and not momentum. Start off with ten, and work your way up.

Then, you are going to lie on your side. The top leg is going to stay straight and pull your toes up towards you. Keep your body in a straight line as well. This is going to work your hip abductor muscles. Then you are going to work the bottom leg working your hip adductor muscles. Same as above, keep the leg straight. Start with ten of each of these, and do both sides.

In standing, you will do a heel/toe raise off the ground. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, come up on your toes as high as you can. Try not to lean forward, but bring your body straight up and slowly come back down. Push off as much as you can so your heel leaves the ground. Then lift your toes off the ground, alternating back and forth. Start off with ten and work your way up to 20-25.

The last exercise will be a balance series. Stand on one foot, but hold onto something sturdy. Try to balance for 30 seconds to a minute. When that becomes easy, just use one finger one each side. Then just one finger for balance, and finally try balancing without holding on at all.

Related Videos:

Calf Exercises for Strengthening

3 Best Stretches for Knee Pain

Relieve Plantar Fasciitis Pain with Whole Body Exercises

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the fascia on the bottom of the foot, but sometimes the cause of the irritation is not from your foot. It can actually come from an issue in your back, hips, or knees.

These back, hip or knee issues can cause your arch to drop and put strain on the fascia. This video will help address all of those areas.

The first stretch/exercise is a combination movement with a Runner’s stretch and adding an opposite leg swing to work the foot muscles as well.

Often a weak gluteus medius can also cause problems at your feet. Hip hikes standing on the floor or on a step and clamshells do a great job of strengthening the area. Make sure you exercises both sides.

Next is a thoracic back stretch. If you have some rotation or tightness in your back, it can also put pressure through your foot.

Finally, there is open the book. This is a great upper back, lower back, and hips stretch.

Related Videos:

5 Best Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief Treatments

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment with Massage, Stretches, & Exercises

Ankle Sprain Treatments for Pain Relief

Sponsored Content: This video contains paid product placement. Thank you to BraceAbility for sponsoring this video and providing Doctor Jo with a free Ankle Support Brace to use. If you purchase this product from these Amazon Associate links/ads, Doctor Jo will earn a commission.

Click here to purchase the BraceAbility Ankle Support Brace featured in the video!

Ankle sprains are different grades depending on how severe they are. These ankle sprain treatments are for an early sprain where you want to get some movement, but you don’t want to overdo it. 

To start off with some ankle sprain pain relief, you will stretch your calf muscles. The calves often become tight with a sprain because you are not working the muscles like you normally would. Then you will do ankle circles. Try to just move at the ankle and not your whole leg.

In the early stages, you can also use an ankle support if you have a sprained ankle. The folks at BraceAbility sent me their neoprene ankle wrap. Wraps or sleeves are a great way to get some stability in the ankle, and to help get the swelling and irritation out with some compression. 

Then you will do ankle pumps, which is ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion. This also works the calve muscles like a pump to help decrease swelling. Next you will do ankle inversion and eversion or windshield wipers. 

You can also stretch out the bottom of your foot or the plantar fascia area because it can become inflamed when you don’t have normal movement. Finally you can do some light resistive exercises as long as they don’t increase the pain.  

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Reduce Feet & Ankle Swelling

Swelling in the feet and ankles can be from a number of things. Often it is from an injury, but it can be an injury at your foot, ankle, knee, hip, or even back since the fluid or swelling will often follow gravity.

If you have not had an injury to your feet and/or ankles, and you are having swelling, make sure you check in with your doctor because it could be a symptom of a more serious issue.

Ankle pumps, calf stretches, and straight leg raises (SLR) are great ways to help reduce swelling in your feet and ankles. Working the calf, quads, and hip flexors work as natural pumps to move the fluid out of your legs.

Also, propping your leg up above your heart and just relaxing can help reduce the swelling as well.

Some seated exercises like seated hip flexion, seated long arc quads (LAQ), and heel and toe raises are great to do if you have to work at a desk all day. You can also do the heel raises standing for a tougher exercise.

Related Videos:

Ankle Strengthening Exercises & Stretches

Stop Toe Cramps & Foot Cramps

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