Common Foot & Ankle Injuries

Health & Wellness • N EW S L E T T E R •

Put Your Best Foot Forward: Common Foot and Ankle Injuries

Your feet are one of the most important parts of your body—after all, you use them to run, jump, walk, stand, or move around. Unfortunately, this means that your feet are also susceptible to injury. Injuries to the foot/ankle can be acute (sudden onset) or chronic, which come on gradually often through overuse. Some of the most common injuries include ankle sprains and fractures, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. Sprains: The most common of all ankle injuries, an ankle sprain, occurs when there is a stretching and tearing of ligaments surrounding the ankle joint. Ankle sprains occur when the foot twists, rolls or turns beyond its normal motions. It can happen when the foot is planted awkwardly, when the ground is uneven, or when an unusual amount of force is applied to the joint. The ligaments surrounding the ankle can become severely over- stretched and damaged. This can result in inflammation, swelling, and bruising around the affected joint as well as inability to put weight through the ankle. It’s important to address a sprain immediately because if you don’t, the ankle instability can put you at risk for further sprains and damage to ligaments, tendons and bones.

Fractures: An ankle fracture involves breaking one or more of the bones that make up the ankle joint. These injuries can range from a small break in one bone, in which case you may still be able to walk on that ankle, to larger or multiple fractures that may require surgery to stabilize the bones. Most fractures result from trauma such as dropping something on your foot or from a fall. Stress fractures: Stress fractures can occur when there is a sudden increase in training such as running, a lack of supportive footwear or a change in the training surface like running primarily on grass and then switching to pavement. Metatarsal fracture: Ametatarsal fracture is one of the most common injuries in the foot. The foot has 5 metatarsal bones, which stretch from the ankle to the toes. These bones are fragile and can be damaged easily, especially when the foot is put under constant pressure like when an athlete is competing. A fracture of the 5th metatarsal is the most common. The best immediate treatment for sprains and fractures is the R.I.C.E. method: R est, I ce, C ompression, E levation. Achilles Tendonitis: If your pain is in the back

of the heel, you may have a case of Achilles tendinitis. The Achilles is your body’s largest and strongest tendon, but it is not infallible. When the Achilles is overused, it can become inflamed. You typically feel the strongest pain during activity and it generally subsides with rest. People with weak Achilles tendons are more susceptible to tears and/or ruptures, which is why it’s very important to strengthen this area. Having healthy, pain-free feet is the solid starting point for health. When your feet are achy, inflamed and tired, it can make it difficult to reach your fitness goals or even complete your regular daily duties. Receiving proper treatment can ensure the ankle/foot heals properly by restoring mobility and strength to prevent re- injury and get you back on your feet again!

By Angie Austin, LPTA

Are Your Feet in Proper Alignment? Your feet are the foundation for your entire body. When this foundation is misaligned or functioning poorly, you can feel the effects throughout your body in your muscles and joints. More than 75% of the population suffers from overpronation or excessive supination, but many of us are unaware of our own foot alignment and how it affects the rest of our body. OVERPRONATION: When the arch collapses too much and the foot rolls inward excessively, distributing weight unevenly. EXCESSIVE SUPINATION : When the foot leans to the outside and weight is distributed along the outer portion of the foot. It reduces the body’s natural shock absorbing capability. NEUTRAL : Foot and ankle maintain a straight line. Weight is distributed evenly across the foot and heel.




21251 Ridgetop Circle Suite #140, Sterling, VA 20166 703-450-4300

Our Pat ient Spot l ight

Katie came to Loudoun Sports Therapy Center for foot and ankle pain that impacted her daily activities. She worked hard, completed her plan on care here and has made incredible strides!


“I was having foot pain on top of overall general weakness. Every morning, I dreaded getting up because I knew how badly my feet would hurt once I stood up. I wasn’t able to get into an exercise routine because of constant pain. The therapists at LSTC have helped me gradually strengthenmy feet and ankles as well as helpme with core strength. Now, I’mdoing a lot of the exercises they showedme four timesaweekand I feel great bothphysically andmentally.Thank you!”

Pat ient Resul ts



LSTC CATERED THERAPY TO MY PROGRESS AND GOALS! “I was recommended to LSTC from a friend and it was a great decision. The service, teamwork, and professionalism here is top notch. After knee surgery, I had trouble with strength, mobility and agility. The programwas catered tomy progress andgoals, allowingme to advance at a comfortable ratewhilepushingmyself when appropriate. I have confidence inmy knee and amback tomoderate athleteic physical activity. A big thank you to the wonderful staff at LSTC!” ~Tom H.

I HAVE NO LIMITATIONS AT WORK & I STARTED RUNNING AGAIN! “I started physical therapy after being in a boot for almost 2 and a half months. When I started PT, I could not stand for more than 5 minutes without feeling any pain, my leg would start shaking, my balance was horrible, and I could not take a walk becausemy leg would give out. After my first two weeks of PT, I started to feel a lot better while standing and walking. The pain started to go away and I could feel strength in my right achillescomingback.Weekafterweek, I kept feeling better, all the exercises that the awesome girls at LSTC gave me helped a great deal. Now, after my eight weeks of PTI have no limitations at work, I started to run again, kick a soccer ball. My strength, balance andwillingness to practice sports has come back again!” ~Rafael B.

“With two bricks for feet, I hobbledmy way intoLSTC. Balancing, walkingand even putting on shoes had become difficult. Working with an excellent teamof people and lots of side steps, monster walks and tracing alphabets in theairmadeahugedifference! Now, my feet move, my toes canwiggle and I’m back to being able to play moms’ soccer indoors. Thanks to everyone on the team!” ~Susan M.

“I’mwalking correctly which is a huge improvement. I know how to perform my exercises correctly and know how to keep up with those. I feel like I can movebetterandthatIammorelimber.” ~Regina F.

21251 Ridgetop Circle Suite #140, Sterling, VA 20166 703-450-4300

Clinic News What’s happening at LSTC...

Spring Clean Your Diet with the 5 Clean Eating Tips By Millie Betts, Personal Trainer and Health Coach

2. Plan meals around a vegetable Instead of thinking of a vegetable as a side dish, make it the main event. 3. Swap refined grains for whole grains Choose whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta and brown rice instead of white, refined grains. 4. Revamp your snacks Swap out crackers or chips for crunchy fruits and vegetables and replace candy or cookies with naturally sweet fruit like berries or grapes. 5. Drink more water Water helps regulate your body temperature and helps rid your body of toxins. Make it your primary beverage at meals.

As the weather gets warmer, get inspired to eat food that truly nourishes your body so you feel your best. Try these 5 clean eating tips to ‘health-ify’ your diet:

1.Don’t think that more expensive equals better. Brands of running shoes vary greatly in price. Do your research. 4 Tips Everyone Should Know Before Buying Running Shoes 2.Get fitted at a running store. Try on brands and compare shoes that fit your gait pattern. Have a professional evaluate your walking pattern or gait and fit you with the proper shoe.

1. Focus on ‘one-ingredient’ foods These are whole, natural foods with no added ingredients. Examples include fresh fruits and vegetables; quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, oats; natural dairy products such as natural cheeses, plain, unsweetened yogurt and low-fat milk; lean proteins like fresh meats and seafood, dried beans and eggs.

3.Buy a shoe that is comfortable. Buy something you feel great wearing.

4.Get a gait analysis from a physical therapist. Checking whether you are a supinator, pronator or have a neutral foot is the first step towards buying the right type of shoe.

Millie Betts is a Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Leader, Weight Management Specialist, and Yoga Instructor. Her expertise and experience helps her coach, support, encourage, and train her clients to a better self.  You can reach her at or check her out at

Q: I’m going to flip the script this month and ask YOU a question. May is World Stroke Month. Do YOU know the symptoms of a stroke? Think F.A.S.T. Ask a PT: Have a question about physical therapy, an injury or pain you’re experiencing? Our therapist, Devin Wurman, DPT has the answers.

Refer someone to LSTC for physical therapy! When they come in for care and tell us you referred them, we will enter you into our drawing for a $50 gift card!

• A: F ACE: Ask the person to smile. Take notice if one side droops. A RM: Ask the person to raise their arms. Does one arm drift lower than the other? S PEECH: Ask the patient to repeat a sentence. Is their speech slurred? T IME: Call 9-1-1! The faster you get help, the better. Life-saving tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) can be administered to the patient if they are able to get to the hospital within the first three hours of a stroke.

Every time we have 13 entries in the jar, we will draw a name for a $50 gift card. Then the game starts over. Play now for your chance to win and keep playing for more chances!

Congrats to David and Shirley B! They have both been patients in the past and referred another brand new patient our way. They win a $50 dollar gift card. Thank you for helping LSTC grow.

Ask your question by posting it on our Facebook or twitter page.

21251 Ridgetop Circle Suite #140 Sterling, VA 20166 703-450-4300

Outpatient Physical Therapy Specializing In: Lower Back Pain • Neck Pain • Sciatica • Hip Problems • Shoulder Pain • Bursitis • Tendonitis • Frozen Shoulder Joint Pain and Replacements • Foot and Ankle Pain • Plantar Fasciitis • Knee Problems • Arthritis • Muscle Pains Sprains • Strains • Hand and Elbow Problems • Sports Injuries • Concussion Management Program Sports Performance Program • Return to Sport Program • Balance and Vestibular Problems • Other Conditions

Static stretching is the elongation of muscles during a period of rest. “Without movement,” static stretches help improve overall flexibility of a single muscle or muscle group at one time. As such, static stretching decreases your core temperature and should be performed at a slow pace. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds for gradual, permanent tissue change to avoid a rebounding “rubber band” effect. After a round a static stretching, you will feel “loose” and relaxed. Static stretching should be performed after a run as part of your cool down to prevent muscle tightness and cramping, maintain muscle length and improve your flexibility. After contracting your muscles during training, don’t forget to stretch thoroughly after every run. When stretching, target your gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves (as shown in the pictures below) to reduce post-run muscle soreness. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds and perform each stretch for 3 repetitions.

Single Knee-to-Chest Stretch (target muscle group: gluteals)  Lying on your back, hug one knee into your chest. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each leg.

Standing Hamstring Stretch  Place one foot on a small stool or step. Keep your back flat and hinge forward at your waist, reaching your arms toward your toes. Make sure you keep your knee straight to maximize the stretch. You will feel a stretch in the back of your thigh and knee. If you flex your foot, you will also feel a stretch in your calf. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat on each leg.  Standing Calf Stretch 1 (Target muscle group: gastrocnemius—large calf muscle)  Stand with your feet staggered, about 6-12 inches apart. If you need assistance for balance, you can perform this stretch against the wall. Gently lunge one foot forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Make sure you keep your heel down to achieve the maximum benefit of the stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg. 

Standing Quadriceps Stretch  Balance on one foot and bend your opposite knee, bringing your foot toward your bottom. Grab your foot and gently pull it toward your bottom until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh (quads). Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg.

Standing Calf Stretch 2 (Target muscle group: soleus—smaller calf muscle)  Stand with your feet staggered, about 6-12 inches apart. If you need assistance for balance, you can perform this stretch against the wall. Gently lunge one foot forward and slightly bend your back leg, keeping your heel down. You should feel a stretch in your upper calf. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg. 

Active Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch  Kneel down on one knee, bringing your opposite leg in front of your with a 90-degree bend at your hip and your knee.  Maintain good upright posture and gently perform a posterior pelvic tilt by tucking your tailbone under and thrusting your pelvis forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg.

If you experience pain during or after a run, take a few days off to rest, especially if your pain worsens during or after running or causes you to alter your gait pattern. Instead of running, substitute lower intensity walking, water aerobics or recumbent cycling. Once you start running again, cut your distance in half. Ease yourself back into your running program only if you remain pain-free. If you are still experiencing discomfort, call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center to diagnose your injury and help you safely return to your running routine by addressing the source of your pain, tackling any musculoskeletal imbalances.

If you’re an avid runner, chances are high that you’ve experienced an injury or two over the years. Running is a great sport, but it places a lot of stress on your joints. According to Runner’s World magazine, approximately 66 percent of runners admit to having sustained a running-related injury in the past year. The good news is you can take several steps before and after running to help prevent common problems, whether you’re a roadrunner, treadmill connoisseur or trail racer. It doesn’t matter if you run for competition, simple cardio or just for fun. Anyone who spends any amount of time running will benefit from pre- and post-running stretches. The answer is both, but there are two types of stretching: dynamic stretching and static stretching. Dynamic stretching means you’re elongating tissues while moving through a range of motion to prepare your muscles for activity. This is the best way to warm up before a run. Dynamic stretching increases your muscles’ core temperature and gets your blood pumping by incorporating sports-specific movements that prepare your body for particular actions during your run. It also gets you into competition mode! Additionally, dynamic stretching improves the range of motion around your joints, reducing the chances of injury. Over time, this will improve your performance and maximize your movements due to the increase in the flexibility of your muscles surrounding your joints. For the longest time, running doctrine stated that static stretching was the proper way to loosen up our muscles prior to running. However, we are now aware of the advantages of dynamic stretching and heavily advocate it as a far more beneficial warm up exercise in order to maximize performance. The effectiveness of your warm up not only affects the likelihood of injury, but it also directly impacts your ability to perform to your maximum ability. As such, dynamic stretching plays a major role in maximizing your performance levels and should be a key part of any warm up prior to a run.

Dynamic Hamstring Stretch 

Stand with your feet about hip width apart.

 Bend forward at your waist, bend your elbows and rock your arms from side to side while keeping your knees straight. You will feel a stretch in your hamstrings behind your knees and thighs. Rock back and forth 20 times.

Dynamic Hip Openers 

Stand with your feet hip width apart.

 Get your balance on one leg and rotate your opposite leg in a clockwise motion, drawing a rainbow-shaped arch with your leg.  Reverse the rainbow in a counterclockwise direction. Repeat 20 times on each leg.

Dynamic Calf Stretch  Stand with your feet staggered one in front of the other, 6-12 inches apart.  Gently rock forward, lifting your back heel, then shift your weight and rock backwards, lifting your front toes. You will feel a stretch in your calves. Repeat rocking back and forth 20 times, then switch your feet and repeat 20 more times.


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