There are a number of reasons for hip pain, such as a tight, strained or overused muscle in the hip or from the joint itself. Pain in the hip can sometimes be the result of an injury, it can be referred from the back or related to the way a person moves, stands and/or uses the hip.

Pain from osteoarthritis or wear and tear in the hip joint is also common. Osteopaths can help manage the stiffness by looking at the way the hip moves, strengthening and stretching the muscles, gently massaging the hip muscles and stretching the hip joint to reduce tension and improve the mobility of the joint, as well as working on the secondary problems like backache.

X-rays, scans and other tests are sometimes required to make a diagnosis and an osteopath may make a referral to a GP or a specialist for any additional investigations or treatment.

Knee pain

The knee is the largest joint in the body. It is a major weight-bearing joint and is one of the most frequently injured joints in the human body.

Knee pain can have a number of different causes, can be painful and debilitating and, although some conditions may require surgery, many can be helped with the right advice, exercise and treatment.

The knee joint lies between the femur and tibia and at the front is the patella or kneecap. It is made up of a number of structures including ligaments, muscles, capsule, synovial membrane and two ‘c’ shaped pieces of cartilage that sit between the femur and tibia, known as the menisci.

Damage, strain or sprain to the structures of the knee can give rise to symptoms. It can be the result of a sudden injury as often seen in sports injuries or by repeatedly placing strain on an area of the knee. Poor alignment of the knee or kneecap and altered joint mechanics in relation to other joints, such as the hips and knees, are often significant. Osteoarthritis or wear and tear is a common condition that affects the knee.

Common symptoms in the knee include pain, stiffness, aching, locking, swelling, limping and difficulty fully straightening or bending the knee.

X-rays, scans and other tests are sometimes required to make a diagnosis and an osteopath may make a referral to a GP or a specialist for any additional investigations or treatment.

Foot and ankle pain

Pain can occur in the foot and ankles for a number of reasons. The foot and ankle are made up of a number of small bones interconnected by ligaments, muscles and fascia all working together to give strength, stability and flexibility the foot and ankle needs to function properly. Common conditions of the foot, ankle and areas which can give rise to pain include:

  • Acquired flat foot – when the inner side of the foot or inner arch flattens. The foot may roll over to the inner side. It is often apparent if the heels of shoes wear out quickly and unevenly. It can damage the ankle joint and achilles tendon (the tendon at the back of your ankle) and can also cause shin pain. Symptoms can include, pain, swelling, change in foot shape and knee pain or swelling.
  • Plantar fasciitis –is often a sharp pain and inflammation in the plantar fascia – the tough fibrous band of tissue that supports the arches of the foot and runs under the small bones from the underside of the heel and sole towards the toes. It tends to be made worse by standing for long periods of time in poor footwear, being off the feet for a long time and putting the foot on the floor first thing in the morning. The sole of the foot can occasionally feel a little numb, tingly or swell slightly.
  • Achilles pain –The Achilles tendon is formed by the tendon of the two calf muscles, coming together and attaching on to the bone at the back of the heel. Pain, inflammation or tendonitis can cause pain and tightness in this area.
  • Sprained ankle. Typically the result of a sudden twisting or “going over” on the ankle joint.  Typical symptoms are swelling, bruising, pain and instability of the ankle. Sometimes an x-ray is required to rule out any fracture. Rest, ice, elevation and compression can help in the first 24 to 48 hours after injury.

 How can an osteopath help?

  • Depending on diagnosis, age and fitness, a variety of gentle massage and mobilisation techniques can increase mobility in the joints and the flexibility of the muscles in the foot.
  • Often muscles and joints in lower limbs, knee, hip and lower back will be looked at and any joint restrictions and muscle tightness may be treated to improve the movement in the joints of the lower body will help the foot and ankle function better.
  • Specific balancing, strengthening or loosening exercises may also be offered, along with advice on strapping and brace supports, footwear and any lifestyle factors that might be hindering healing. You may also be referred to a podiatrist.
  • X-rays, scans or other tests may be required to make a diagnosis and a referral to a GP may be made for any additional investigations and treatment, such as advice on pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications.