Stiffness in the feet or ankles can make standing and walking uncomfortable or even painful. When faced with podiatric discomfort, don't assume that it's an inevitable part of getting older or living an active lifestyle or that the pain will resolve itself. Putting off treatment can allow the issue to worsen or become chronic. Don't risk it. If you're dealing with foot or ankle stiffness or pain more and more frequently, or it begins to affect your mobility, it's time to see a podiatrist.
Massapequa Podiatry Associates' skilled podiatrists, Dr. Corey Fox and Dr. Justin LoBello, work with patients to find the source of their discomfort and match them with conservative to advanced therapies that provide relief. Here's what you need to know about stiff feet and ankles, the treatments available at our Long Island, New York podiatry practice, and how we can help you get back on your feet.
Common Causes of Foot and Ankle Stiffness
Many podiatric injuries, deformities, and disorders include foot or ankle stiffness among their symptoms. A recent foot or ankle injury is one of the most common causes of this type of discomfort. However, it you haven't rolled your foot, twisted your ankle, or sustained another similar injury lately, there can be other causes.
Why You May Suffer Stiff Feet and Ankles
- Arthritis. The result of a breakdown of the cartilage that cushions joints in the feet and ankles, arthritis is a leading cause of foot and ankle stiffness, swelling, and discomfort. Although osteoarthritis is most common, rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease characterized by chronically-inflamed joints, can also affect the ankles and feet.
- Plantar fasciitis. This condition is the inflammation of the plantar fascia—the thick band of ligament tissue that runs along the length of the foot, connecting the heel and toe bones. It can cause stiffness and sharp pain in the feet. This pain is often worse in the morning, but may improve with activity.
- Tendinitis. This condition is the Irritation or inflammation of a tendon—the thick, fibrous cords of tissue that attach muscle to bone. When this condition develops in your ankles or feet, it can lead to tendinitis and cause pain, tenderness, and stiffness outside joints such as those near your heel.
- Osteochondritis. Often caused by a twisting-type ankle injury, osteochondritis presents with lesions that can develop on the bones of the ankle, causing stiffness, swelling, and pain.
- Chronic lateral ankle pain. This disorder causes pain and stiffness along the outside of the ankle. It is often caused by a previous ankle sprain but can have other causes.
How a Podiatrist Can Help Ease Foot or Ankle Stiffness and Discomfort
At Massapequa Podiatry Associates, we're committed to helping patients get to the bottom of their foot or ankle pain and providing the treatment needed to get them back to doing the things they love as quickly and safely as possible. After a thorough physical examination and discussion of your symptoms and lifestyle, we'll offer a diagnosis and may recommend any of the following interventions throughout the course of treatment:
- R.I.C.E. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation ( R.I.C.E.) is a first-line treatment for podiatric pain and discomfort.
- Immobilization. Depending on your diagnosis, immobilization of the affected foot or ankle may be needed to ensure proper healing.
- Exercises. Stretching and strengthening exercises performed before and after activities may help you regain mobility and prevent future injury.
- Orthotics. Wearing custom inserts or insoles can provide support and cushioning precisely where you need it.
- Footwear changes. Opting for well-fitting shoes with adequate cushioning and support in the heel and arch may help you avoid similar discomfort in the future.
- Laser therapy. This FDA-cleared advanced therapy uses light energy to stimulate healing.
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy. Made using your own concentrated plasma, PRP injections engage the body's natural processes to jump-start the healing process.
- Shockwave therapy. This revolutionary technology uses waves of sound energy to stimulate the body's metabolism and encourage faster healing at the site of injury.
Schedule an Appointment
If you’re ready to put ankle stiffness and pain behind you, complete our contact form, or call us at 516-541-9000 (toll-free 877-674-7422) to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.