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Foot/Ankle Chronic Pain

This is not medical advice. If you’ve recently had an accident, go see a doctor.

My first visit to the podiatrist was for shin splints from high school basketball and I was given calf stretches and expensive shoe inserts, but it didn’t help.

If you go to your podiatrist for chronic foot or ankle pain, it’s likely you’ll be given a similar treatment.

Instead of trying to “fix” the foot with orthotics or surgery, first let’s try to get the foot to work better on its own.

Is there a better way?

In 2020 I started distance running, since I couldn’t go to the gym, but I had continuous foot and ankle problems until I found and read the book “Anatomy for Runners”.

From this book I learned about how modern shoes with extra support, elevated heels, and narrow toe boxes are making our feet weaker and more prone to injury.

Nikes are cool, but they’re too tight and narrow around the toes, which will reduce proprioception, balance, and control, and ultimately make your feet weaker.

I learned to get a pair of barefoot shoes and spend as much time barefoot as possible.

Mobility & Strength

Foot Mobility

Put a lacrosse ball under your feet. You should be able to sustain your entire body weight on a single foot, and you should continue to stand on the lacrosse ball until the fascia and muscles of your feet begin to loosen up.


Ankle mobility

Perform the standing calf stretch on a slant board to improve ankle dorsiflexion.

Sit on your ankles and perform a reverse nordic curl to improve ankle plantar flexion and hip flexor mobility.


Hip Mobility

Perform the couch stretch until you are able to touch your knee, foot, and hip to the wall. The quadriceps muscles are antagonistic to the glute muscles, so if your quads are overly tight this can cause movement dysfunctions.

Improve you hip internal and external rotation with the 90-90 stretch. The hip airplane exercise can help to improve both hip mobility and control.


We want to strengthen the muscles that control the big toe by using the short foot exercise to build our foot arch.

As much as possible when standing or lifting weights, you want to maintain a tripod foot.

Some great exercises for foot/ankle strength and stability include:

All Podiatrists are Not Created Equal

If you’re looking for a podiatrist, Dr. Emily Splichal is the best one I’ve found online who emphasizes the importance of short foot exercise and strength training.

Your specific solution for foot/ankle pain is going to be unique. If you’d like to work with me to overcome your chronic foot/ankle pain, schedule a consultation here!

Hope this helps! - Tom


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