Ankle Pain

Ankle Pain

Ankle pain is common. Injury, arthritis, or normal wear and tear are usually to blame. Depending on the problem, you may feel ankle discomfort or stiffness. Your ankle may swell so much that you can’t walk.

Ankle parts

Muscles, bones, and joints make up your ankles. They keep you standing, balanced, and moving. You can point, bend, pivot, and shift your foot side to side with a flexible ankle.

The ankle is formed from the tibia, fibula, and talus of the lower leg. Ligaments connect these bones. The foot and ankle move thanks to tendons, muscles, and other soft tissues. The ankle is especially vulnerable.

Ankle discomfort happens how often?

Many people experience ankle pain and injuries. If you:

  • Are 65+.
  • Jump, sidestep, or shift directions swiftly in sports or other activities.
  • Are overweight.

What causes ankle pain?

Ankle injuries and diseases can cause pain. Common ankle injuries include:

  • Bursitis: When bones move, bursae cushion them. Bursitis is inflammation of these sacs.
  • Fractures: Accidents and injuries break bones (fracture). Variable ankle fracture severity. Broken ankles can shatter anywhere in the ankle joint. Broken ankles swell and hurt.
  • Sprains: Sprains induce ankle pain. Ankle sprains occur when ligaments strain or rip. When ankles are twisted, they sprain.
  • Tendonitis causes tendons to become inflamed and swollen. Tendons connect muscles and bones. Sometimes tendons rip (such as an Achilles tendon rupture). Torn tendons may need surgery.
Ankle discomfort can be caused by several diseases, syndromes, and circumstances. It’s:

  • Ankle arthritis: causes discomfort and stiffness. Cartilage breakdown causes arthritis. Cartilage cushions bone joints. Broken bones rub together. Injury or overuse can cause arthritis in older adults. Arthritis can damage ankles. Common types include rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
  • Flatfoot: A low or nonexistent arch can make ankles and feet bulge. As kids grow, their arches don’t develop properly.
  • Gout is a kind of arthritis caused by excess uric acid. Uric acid is usually excreted in urine. Too much uric acid causes joint crystals. Gouty ankles are painful.
Cellulitis can cause ankle pain and swelling. An osteomyelitis infection can be caused by staph.

How do I stop ankle pain?

Rest, ice, and OTC medicines help most ankle discomfort. Follow your doctor’s instructions to treat ankle discomfort at home. Doctors may recommend RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation). If self-care doesn’t help, see a doctor.

Home remedies for ankle discomfort include:

  • Take it easy if you have a sprain. Talk to your provider about resting. Using crutches or a walking boot will protect your ankle.
  • Ice: Apply ice or a cold pack every few hours to minimize swelling.
  • Compression: Wrap your ankle in an elastic bandage to minimize swelling. Don’t overtighten.
  • Elevating your ankle reduces edema. Sleep with your foot lifted.
NSAIDs ease pain and reduce swelling without a prescription. Consult your doctor before taking any medication.

Supportive shoes: Your shoes should support your feet and ankles. Avoid flip-flops, sandals, and ill-fitting shoes. Sports shoes are crucial. Basketball and volleyball can injure your ankles without the correct shoes.

Healthcare workers address ankle discomfort.

Most ankle injuries heal at home. Some injuries require surgery. What causes ankle discomfort affects treatment. Common ankle pain treatments include:

  • An ankle brace may improve your comfort and stability. Some braces function better for certain activities. Request a recommendation from your provider.
  • Joint aspiration removes excess fluid from a joint using a needle. Aspirin relieves joint pain and edema.
  • Medications minimize ankle edema and pain. Arthritis and gout drugs reduce pain and edema.
  • Shoe inserts are orthotics. You can buy them or have them custom-made. Orthotics stabilize and support the foot.

Physical therapy (PT) will help you become more flexible and build ankle-supporting muscles. Your PT will provide you workouts and stretches. Follow your doctor’s instructions for workouts and stretches.

Doctors or nurses inject steroid medications straight into joints. Cortisone reduces pain and swelling.

Ankle ligaments and tendons can be repaired surgically. Some aid with arthritis or flat feet. Ankle surgery relieves pain and restores function.

What causes ankle pain?

Ankle pain isn’t always preventable. If you’re healthy, your bones, ligaments, and tendons will be strong. To avoid ankle injuries and pain:

  1. Healthy weight. Extra weight strains joints, including ankles.
  2. Muscle up! Keep your other muscles strong to protect your ankles.
  3. Stop doing things that hurt. Avoid pain. Stop what hurts and do something else. See a doctor if the pain persists. Continued exercise can worsen an injury.
  4. Stretch beforehand. Warm muscles, ligaments, and tendons are less prone to be injured.
When should I see a doctor about ankle pain?
If you:

  • After two to three days of home treatment, ankle pain is severe or persists.
  • Pain and swelling coincide.
  • Redness, warmth, or a fever may indicate an infection.
  • Can’t put your weight on it
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