Summer is inching closer, and with the warmer weather and longer days, our natural Kiwi inclination is to kick off the shoes and dust off the jandals. Moving into sandals and jandals and generally less supportive footwear tends to bring a few tender feet and ankles to the clinic.

The common problems we will see is pain of the tendons and fascia that run on the inside of the foot and ankle. As the arch support drops in our more casual footwear, the connective tissue of the foot can have sudden strain placed upon it, causing pain. Here are a few things we will do to manage these symptoms:

1) Wear more supportive shoes!

This seems obvious and yet you would be surprised how many people can’t believe their jandals are still hurting their feet just as much as they were last week… I’m not saying you can’t wear them at all, but if you go straight from boots to jandals 24/7, you are more likely to suffer from these symptoms. Your feet need some time to adjust.

2) Strapping

Strapping tape is a method we use to mimic the supportive structures of the foot which can offload the strained tissues enough to reduce their pain and allow them to heal. We will use either sports tape (the brown rigid stuff) or kinesiotape (the colourful stretchy stuff) depending on a few factors. Both can have good results but generally, your foot will prefer one or the other. This usually requires a little trial and error while we establish what works best for you.

3) Icing

Depending on the structures involved and the severity of the pain, icing can be very beneficial in reducing inflammation and managing pain. An oldie but a goodie – if you have significant tendon irritation or inflammation, icing can be the most relieving thing you do.

4) Massage

Mobilisations to overloaded or tight soft-tissue can help manage your pain and restore normal loading in the foot. Calves and the plantar fascia are common structures that need releasing with conditions like this. Sometimes this is done by your physio, or sometimes we will get you to utilise balls or bottles to release the tissues in the sole of your foot yourself.

5) Stretching and Strengthening

More often than not, the poor foot and ankle alignment that precipitates this pain is associated with weak and tight muscle structures in the hip and leg. Management of this condition would be remiss without assessment of the rest of your body and the prescription of appropriate exercises.

If you have developed foot or ankle pain, particularly subsequent to christening your summer footwear, come on in and see one of the team at Healthzone Physio to get some treatment and a management plan put in place.

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Rebecca graduated from AUT in 2008 with her Bachelor of Health Science in Physiotherapy and started working in a West Auckland private practice. She quickly gained an interest in sports physiotherapy including injury prevention and management. Rebecca worked for four years with premier and reserve club rugby teams including Waitemata and Kumeu / Helensville. She was the physio for the Western Pioneers team in 2012 when they won the North Harbour competition. Rebecca also practiced as a community physiotherapist administering the Otago Exercise Programme which focused on falls prevention for the independent elderly. Through these clients, she developed a curiosity in chronic pain conditions. While she has had plenty of experience in standard post surgical rehabilitation, she took a particular interest in Functional Reactivation Programmes, which work with people suffering persistent pain and complex recoveries post surgery or injury. Rebecca takes an interest in working with clients who have exhausted their channels within the health profession for the management of their pain and enjoys the challenge of helping these patients manage their conditions and return to activities of daily living. To aid in this work, she went on to get her Postgraduate Certificate in Rehabilitation from AUT. Rebecca’s passions include travel, yoga, food, comedy and film – don’t get her started on the topic of movies if you don’t have the time and energy to discuss them with her. She lives in central Auckland and is fiercely local – preferring to commute every day across the bridge than to live any distance away from friends and family!