Where Does it Hurt Series

Ankle/Foot | Back | Elbow | Head/Neck | Hips/Thighs | Knee | Shin/Calf | Shoulder | Wrist/Hand

* Please Note: Below is a listing of some but not all conditions that physical therapists treat. This page is intended for informational purposes only. The information below should in no way be considered complete and in no way should be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your physician, physical therapist or other healthcare provider for more information on the condition that concerns you.

Ankle Sprains

A sprain is an injury to the ligaments around a joint. Ligaments are the strong, flexible fibers that connect one bone to another. When a ligament is stretched too far or tears, the joint will become painful and swell.

An ankle sprain can range from mild to severe depending on how badly the ligament is damaged. Most ankle sprains happen when you make a rapid shifting movement with your foot planted, like when playing soccer or being tackled in football. A sprain can occur in an event as simple as accidentally rolling your ankle.


  • Mild sprain
    • Pain in the ankle
    • Tenderness, swelling, and stiffness
    • The ankle is still stable and you can walk on it, but with pain
    • Bruising may occur in a more serious sprain
  • Severe sprain
    • Pain
    • Bruising, tenderness
    • Weakness, “wobbly” ankle
    • Walking is not possible because the ankle gives out

Plantar Fascitis

This condition is a heel pain caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, the tissue along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes. Your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in your foot. If tension becomes too great, it can create small tears in the fascia. Repetitive stretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated or inflamed. The band of fascia may swell and become painful.

This is one of the most common foot-related orthopedic complaints. Risk factors for plantar fascitis include foot arch problems (both flat foot and high arches), differing leg lengths, obesity, sudden weight gain, running, improper shoes, arthritis, diabetes (for unknown reasons), and a tight Achilles tendon (the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel).


  • Sharp, stabbing pain in the inside part of the bottom of your heel
  • Pain in the bottom of the heel, usually worse in the morning and improving throughout the day
  • Pain that worsens when climbing stairs or when standing on tiptoe
  • Pain after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position
  • Pain after, but not usually during, exercise
  • Mild swelling in your heel