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Ankle Pain

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Pain in ankle is not something very uncommon and has affected everyone at some point of time. The intensity of the pain ranges from mild to severe and under many circumstances it can restrict movement. Let’s find out the details/

How does it feel like?

Ankle pain is indeed annoying. The pain may be localized or it can spread to your entire feet and even legs. You may limp while walking and if there’s a fracture then the pain is unbearable.

Minor sprain and muscle pull also cause tremendous discomfort, nevertheless it goes away in some time. The pain may be accompanied by soreness, swelling, stiffness and redness of the surrounding area.

Under many cases of nerve injury, you may also feel numbness in the ankles and experience trembling of the feet and loss of strength.

Causes of Ankle Pain

  • Muscle sprain
  • Injury joints, ligaments, tendons
  • Inflammation of joints
  • Cartilage damage
  • Dislocation of joint
  • Tendinitis- inflammation of the tendon
  • Gout
  • Nerve damage- sciatica
  • Different forms of arthritis- reactive arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondolylitis
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome

Diagnosis of Ankle Pain

Diagnosis begins with a physical examination of the feet. Your doctor will sense and touch different points of the ankle to detect the exact cause of the pain. An X- ray is a must for ruling out the underlying reason.  You will be asked several questions about the pain, its timeline and severity.

Furthermore, if he/she suspects any form of tendonitis, then you need to undergo additional tests like ultrasound and MRI. Infection in bones and different types of arthritis and gout like symptoms are confirmed through blood tests and synovial fluid analysis.

Treatment for Ankle Pain

The treatment is completely dependent on diagnostic reports.

  • However, in the meantime your doctor will prescribe your acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory and NSAIDs drugs to combat the pain. Corticosteroid injections are given to treat tendonitis
  • If it’s a fracture, then you will be treated under emergency care and the following operation may be invasive or non- invasive in nature. Your doctor might also perform a surgery if needed.
  • Lastly, the pain subsides along with the treatment of the disease

Home Care for Ankle Pain

There are ample ways to alleviate the pain at home. Follow the points below:

  • If you have sprained or twisted your ankle very badly, then immediately take ice compress. Repeat 4-5 times a day.
  • Keep it protected by wearing guarding devices like a brace, ACE bandage or a splint. Make sure the blood circulation is not hindered.
  • Seek help from a physiotherapist and perform the exercises as suggested by him/her
  • Wear flat base footwear whenever you are walking or travelling. Avoid wearing heels when your movement is hurried.
  • Keep your ankle at an elevated position or at rest on the ground and avoid suspending it in the air.
  • You can apply OTC pain relief ointments or sprays to get some immediate relief.

What to expect?

Pain arising from normal muscle pull or injury heals within a week; however, a fracture will take definitive time like 3 months to heal completely. Follow the advice of your doctor and do not make any forceful movement unless the fracture is completely repaired. You will need to support your ankle properly and during the final stage of healing or post recovery, first walk with a cast and with someone’s help.

Lastly, gout, arthritis, tendonitis, tarsal tunnel syndrome and other types of syndromes and inflammation get completely cured with proper treatment and care.  

Your will need to undergo X rays several times during the period of treatment and your healing therapies will depend upon the reports.

We must also say that try to lose weight to reduce pressure on your ankles; it will prevent frequent twisting, sprain and even imbalance. Take considerable rest to gear up the healing process.  

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 11, 2015