Foot and ankle pain

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Foot and heel problems are common – it is estimated that 1 in 10 people will experience heel pain at some point in their lives.

Foot and heel pain can be caused by injury, or normal wear and tear. Runners and people aged 40-60 are the most commonly-affected groups.

Most foot and heel problems settle with combination of relative rest, avoiding the activity that caused it.
More specific measures include the following:

  • Painkillers – simple over the counter painkillers may help ease pain
  • Cold packs – an ice pack wrapped in a damp cloth may help ease pain
  • Exercise – While removal of causative activity is often necessary it is important to stay active if possible. Regular exercise such as swimming and other non-weight-bearing exercises are best if your feet are painful and make it difficult to exercise. Visit the Arthritis Research UK website for specific exercises to help with foot pain.
  • Footwear – Comfort and support should be the main consideration when choosing shoes. If you have a flattened arch that is likely to be causing or aggravating symptoms you may consider insoles to support the arch.
  • Heel Pad – may help reduce impact on a painful heel
  • Ankle support – an elasticated support my help symptoms and/or reduce swelling
  • Weight management – If you are overweight, aiming to get yourself down to a healthy weight can help your condition. Adjusting your eating habits and simple measures such as portion control, will make a great difference. There are many sources of support to help you lose weight. The NHS Livewell website has a 12-week plan to lose weight.