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Ankle and Foot Pain

Ankle and foot pain is very common at some point in life. Normally ankle and foot pain follows some form of injury, such as a sprain. Some ankle and foot pains come from overloading or weakness in certain tissues. Our ankles are very important for our mobility and balance. Most of the time ankle and foot pain will resolve with rest and gentle exercise.

If you are suddenly unable to perform certain movements with your ankle it is important to have this assessed by your physiotherapist or GP.

What can I do to help?

Pain relief: Simple painkillers (like paracetamol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDS, (like ibuprofen) are available over the counter and can be very effective but don’t use them for more than 2 weeks without seeking medical advice. You should carefully read the Patient Information Leaflet that is provided with this medication. 

It is advisable to consult your GP or pharmacist before taking additional pain relief if you are currently:

·         taking any form of medication

·         have any other pre-existing medical conditions

·         pregnant

Ice: If your ankle is swollen and inflamed (warm to the touch) applying an ice pack may be helpful for reducing pain and swelling. A packet of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel works well as an ice pack. Leave the peas in place for no more than 20 minutes at a time. This can be repeated several times a day.

Reducing the strain on your ankle or foot: It is usually best to carry out your normal activities, but try not to overdo it. You need to pace yourself to start with and try to do a bit more each day.

Rest: It is usually best to try to carry out your normal activities in small amounts, you mustn’t overdo it. You need to take things slowly, pace your activities and avoid movements that make your pain worse.

Exercise: Exercise is important to keep your ankle strong and flexible. Below are a few exercises to try of your ankle and foot. They should not aggravate your pain whilst you perform them, if they do, do not push through the pain.

A little post exercise discomfort is not uncommon and not a sign of damage. If you experience pain that regularly lasts for more than 30 minutes after exercise and feel that overall your pain is worsening please stop all exercises and seek advice from the physiotherapy department.

Helpful Documents

Exercises to try:

Ankle Circles

Ankle exercises

Ankle Rotation Exercise

Rotate the ankle around in a circle in both directions.


Calf Raises in Sitting

Calf Raises

Seated Calf Raise Exercise

Sit with your foot flat on the floor.

Slowly lift your heel off the floor. Return to starting position.


Standing Calf Raises


Standing Calf Raise Exercise

Holding onto the wall if necessary.  

Rise up onto your tiptoes (keeping your legs straight) before slowly (5 seconds) lowering down.  


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