In order to help control position and movement, there is an intricate system of muscles and ligaments associated with the foot and ankle. As we stand, walk, or run, it places a tremendous amount of pressure on the foot. This creates a tension on the tissues of the foot and ankle as they attempt to support the arch and stabilize the joints.
Many muscles are located on the back of the calf and have long tendons that cross the ankle and foot and can have an effect on the foot and toes. There is also another group of muscles that are located on the bottom of the foot. The cast majority of theses muscles attach into the bottom of the heel. Additionally, located just under the skin and over the top of the foot muscles is the plantar aponeurosis, commonly referred to as the “plantar fascia”. This is a very tough and dense connective tissue that runs from the bottom of the heel all the way to the toes.
When the foot is injured, these tissues can often be a source of pain or can have an affect on the how the foot moves and functions. This is can result from an acute injury such as an ankle sprain or a cumulative injury such as tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.
Conservative measures includes soft tissue treatment, including Active Release Technique, joint manipulation, exercise, modifications of shoes, or in some cases orthotics. Although pain management may be warranted, restoring proper biomechanics and movement is necessary for most foot ankle issues in order them to fully resolve.