Sprained ankle? Remember these guys – your feet!

Way down there at the end of your legs are your feet. The good news is that they’re still there, even though you’ve probably ignored them for many years. Sprained ankles, or worse. The even better news is that whatever condition they are in, you can improve them, which is what this blog is about: read on to find out more.


Why bother?

Each foot comprises 26 beautiful bones and 33 joints that should move and flow along prescribed pathways as you walk. If for some reason, they don’t, then it affects the movement throughout your whole body. Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s true.
If your feet don’t move properly, it will throw out your muscles, joints and the nervous system that orchestrates the whole process.
Gary Ward developed Anatomy in Motion https://findingcentre.co.uk/ having got to know feet and their peculiarities from being a ski boot fitter. I use his approach when looking at feet, integrated with my knowledge of functional neurology and the complexities of the balance centres through the body and brain.
Did you know that your foot is designed to move from being flat-footed (aka mobile and adaptive) to high-arched (aka rigid and strong) with every step you take? If this flow of movement is interrupted, problems, usually in the form of pain, start to happen. It could occur anywhere along the biomechanical chain from your foot to the base of the skull, which, again, I know sounds crazy, but it’s true.

If you like numbers and stats, read this bit; otherwise, skip to the next paragraph.

Common things happen commonly, but it never makes them normal. Roughly 70% of people have some level of foot deformity, and of that, 95% are flat-footed. When your foot is flatter (pronated) than it should be, excess strain is put on the other joints, often causing pain and issues such as:

Morton’s neuroma
plantar fasciitis
achilles tendonitis
shin splints

Your brain is hungry for information from your feet.

So much so that the feeling part of your brain (sensory cortex) devotes as much space to your feet as it does to your entire trunk.
Imagine what your world would feel like if you always wore gloves and then put a semi-rigid structure on your hands. That’s what we do to our feet the entire time, making it hard for your brain to know where your feet are.

Try this out for yourself, take your shoes and socks off and see if you can:

lift all your toes up
only lift your right big toe up, and then
only lift your left big toe up
lift all your toes up and then place them down one at a time.

It might be more challenging than you think, but that’s the level of disconnection there often is between your brain and your feet. Is it any wonder we have problems with our feet?


Sprained Ankle

By far and away, the most significant injury to feet is an ankle sprain, even a tweak, twist or turn.  Think about it for a moment; why does it happen? It’s because you don’t know where you are in relation to your foot! If you did, your balance system and muscles would protect this from happening.

Why are ankle sprains an issue? Usually, because they damage muscles and ligaments that support the foot and the rehab advice is very poor. Apart from the RICE (rest, ice, compress and elevate), there isn’t much out there; if you’re lucky, perhaps some balance work.
What happens to the bones and joints when you sprain an ankle? Pretty much without fail, an ankle sprain will severely disrupt the movement in the rear foot (calcaneus and talus). As Gary often says, ‘the talus drives the bus’; where the talus goes, the other bones will follow. This disruption leads time and time again to a tendency for recurrent ankle sprains. More importantly, it throws a spanner in the works for movement elsewhere in the body, especially the knee and the hip.


Want to know more or need some help?

I work with all ages and all sorts of different feet. So if you’ve got a problem with your feet, or perhaps a recurrent injury, why not get in touch? You can get hold of me here Contact