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How to treat common foot and ankle complaints without needing to wait for a clinic appointment?

Check the table below and follow the self-help advice in the information leaflet for your particular problem for a minimum of 12 weeks. It may take several weeks until you notice an improvement and in most cases 12 weeks is a realistic time frame to allow the self-help to work. Click on a picture to open another window showing more pictures of the condition.

 Important: Please follow this advice for at least 12 weeks unless things begin to get worse when you should self refer to Podiatry or see your GP without delay.

You may also wish to try applying ibuprofen gel at regular intervals for pain (avoiding any broken skin) and stretch your calves twice a day to improve overall foot and ankle flexibility.

If there is no improvement after this time please self-refer to NHS Borders Podiatry by clicking on the link below for a form to print off (paper forms may be obtained from your local health centre). Please include in your referral how long you have been trying the self-help.

What is the problem?



Click on the small pictures for additional information

What might it look like?


What can you do?

Is surgery the solution?

Bunion (Hallux Valgus) 

Defomity of big toe sometimes with hammer or clawing of lesser toes. Occasionally pain, hard skin or ulcers due to rubbing on shoes.

 Bunion Image Bunion Patient Information Leaflet 

Bunion Surgery Leaflet

Hammer/claw toe surgery Leaflet

Stiff Painful Big Toe Joint (Hallux Rigidus)

Sometimes with a bony lump around the joint which can rub on shoes. Can be similar to bunion but usually the big toe is straighter.

 Hallux Rigidus Image

Hallux Rigidus Patient Information Leaflet

Hallux Rigidus Surgery Leaflet 

Pain in Ball of Foot (Metatarsalgia)

Pain in the ball of the foot. Hard skin may also be present. Commonly affects those with bunions.

 Metatarsalgia Image

Metatarsalgia Patient Information Leaflet

Metarsalgia Surgery Leaflet 

Intermittent Burning/Shooting Pain in Forefoot/Toes (Mortons Neuroma)

Intermittent Burning, shooting pain or ‘Pins and needles’ usually between the toes. Toes may feel numb. Worse with tighter shoes, higher heels and on standing. Usually no visible change to foot.

 Neuroma Image

Morton's Neuroma Patient Information Leaflet

Morton's Neuroma Surgery Leaflet 

Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis)

Heel pain which is worse on first standing from bed or after period of sitting and may radiate into the arch. Usually no visible change to foot

 Plantar Fasciopathy Image

Plantar Fasciitis Patient Information Leaflet

Plantar Fasciitis is self-limiting and resolves in most cases therefore surgery is a last resort and not recommended.

Fallen Arch (Adult Acquired Flat Foot)

Aching inside ankle and arch. Arch may lower and foot splays. Difficulty standing on tiptoe of affected foot. Usually no visible change in early stages.

 PTTD Image

Adult Acquired Flat Foot Patient Information Leaflet

Adult Acquired Flat Foot Surgery Leaflet

 Achilles Tendinopathy:

Pain and Stiffness around the Achilles tendon. worse on first standing in the morning. Pain is generally worse after exercise. There may be no visible change in early stages.

Image result for achilles tendinopathy

Achilles Tendinopathy Patient Information Leaflet


Surgery is a last resort for insertional tendinopathy as results are variable and recovery can be prolonged.