Ankle pain is especially frustrating because it complicates everyday activities including walking and standing. Ankle pain even makes it difficult to wear the shoes you normally would have no problem wearing. While foot pain varies, ankle pain is actually a common type of pain and is often caused by injury.
Where It Starts And What It Feels Like
How often your ankle hurts and whether you have an injury that needs medical attention can depend on what's causing the pain in the first place. It is important to find out what is causing the pain, especially if it persists for a long period of time, gets worse, or doesn't seem to be healing. Untreated ankle pain resulting from injury can result in a more serious injury or arthritis.
Common Causes And Conditions of Ankle Pain
Ankle injuries are common and ankle pain is the result of those injuries. You may just try to deal with ankle pain from an injury without seeing a doctor because you have an active lifestyle and don't want to be sidelined with down time. However, injuries aren't the only cause of this annoying and irritating pain. Many things can cause ankle pain, and it's usually not a serious issue at the start. Often bed rest is enough to bring things back to normal. Some of the more common ankle pain causes are listed here.
• Sprains, strains, tendinitis – these are quite common when it comes to ankle pain problems. It's very easy to twist an ankle and cause it to hurt for some time.
• Breaks and fractures – if someone breaks an ankle or fractures it, the pain is immediate and usually much stronger than if it was only sprained or strained. It also takes much longer to heal and more care is needed. If you break or fracture your ankle, the pain is not something you can just deal with. It will be intense and it won't let up.
• Joint or cartilage damage – as we get older or repeatedly injure a joint, sometimes we destroy cartilage or tendons surrounding that joint, or actually wear down the bones themselves. This can cause chronic pain that often acts up during exercise, in cold weather, or when the weather is changing.
• Arthritis – arthritis in particular can lead to joint problems, causing the ankles to suffer. There are various types of arthritis that affect the health of the foot and lead to pain in the ankles.
• Nerve conditions – nerve injuries could cause ankle pain. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a major foot problem that occurs in the nerve near the anklebone.
• Obesity – overweight individuals put more pressure on their bones, therefore they are more at risk for developing a foot related injury.
Common Treatment Options for Ankle Pain
Treating ankle pain can involve a lot of different things, depending on what the reason for the pain is. If it's from something simple a doctor might not even be needed. However, seiing a doctor is a must if you're suffering from more extreme ankle pain. Basically it depends on the situation and it's important to know some of the more common treatment options, listed below.
• Ice or heat (or both) are often used on sprains and strains, and the ankle area is particularly vulnerable to those kinds of things. If you have strained or sprained your ankle, ice can be used alternately along with heat in order to reduce swelling and pain.
• Wrapping the ankle is another common treatment. It can help to reduce swelling and can also immobilize the ankle and keep it steady in order to help it heal. Pain is often reduced when the ankle is immobilized, as well, because there is less movement to cause further injury. If you decide to do this yourself, don't continue this treatment if the pain persists. See your doctor.
• A cast can be used if the ankle is fractured or broken. That will hold the ankle still and allow the bones to heal back together properly. This is definitely handled by a medical professional.
• Surgery is a possibility, especially if the ankle is badly broken or if there is cartilage or tendon damage that has to be repaired. Most ankle pain problems don't require surgery, but it's important to remember that some of them do, and seeing a doctor can help sort out the severity of the injury, what's causing the pain, and whether further testing is needed.
• Massages and compression of the anklebone are often helpful to decrease pain in the ankle and relieve pressure in the foot.
• Losing weight can also serve as an effective treatment because it lessens the load on a person's feet throughout the day.
In addition, there are many situations where ankle pain could be effectively relieved using alternative medicine. These treatments are often extremely helpful at treating and preventing future injuries. There are many options that allow people to treat this pain naturally. Some suggestions:
• Acupuncture is one of the most popular forms of alternative medicine used today. It has become the contemporary form of medicine. Many people who take advantage of this treatment option will find that their symptoms will be relieved easily and quickly with little or no side effects.
• Vinegar is a great option to help sooth sprains, strains, tendinitis and other general foot issues. Individuals can wrap their feet in hot and cold vinegar wraps.
• Cucumbers work great for swollen feet. Place them on your ankle and cover them with a cotton cloth or bandage. The cucumber will absorb excess fluid in the foot and help to speed recovery.
• In addition, lecithin seeds are also a common natural remedy for swelling feet and ankles. For years, pregnant women have utilized these seeds to relieve their pain.
• Boil a mixture of water, half a tablespoon of molasses, and one tablespoon fennel seeds. Then soak the foot in this mixture for 10 minutes. It is extremely healing.
• Lastly, eat foods that are rich in Vitamin E. This vitamin helps combat swelling issues. Good foods to try include spinach, almond oil, sweet potato, sunflower seeds, and wheat germ.
When To See A Doctor for Ankle Pain
Many times ankle pain is a minor injury that requires a little bit of rest. Typically after you've rested, the ankle will recover properly. Unfortunately, not all ankle pain results in a quick recovery. Some problems are much more severe and need attention quickly. Below is information that addresses proper decision making for ankle pain:
• Some ankle pain requires immediate attention from a doctor. The following are important issues that should be addressed with a doctor immediately if they occur. First, see the doctor immediately if the foot or leg begins to bend at an abnormal angle. Also, see the doctor when pain becomes severe. In addition, numbness or tingling in the foot is also a problem that should be addressed with the doctor as soon as possible. Lastly, those that can’t move their foot or ankle need to talk to their doctor immediately.
• After ankle sprains, visiting the doctor is also important. Check in with the doctor if there was a popping sound when the ankle was sprained. Also, talk to the doctor if the ankle is moderately or severely bruised. If you cannot walk, put weight on your feet, or feel like your ankle is unstable you need to talk to your doctor.
• Lastly, if no progress or improvement is made, consult with the doctor. Noticeable progress should occur after a week at the most and the swelling should be gone even sooner.
Managing Ankle Pain
Finally, to effectively manage ankle pain, staying off the foot is vital. In order to recover you need to rest. The swelling will not go down if you don't stay off your feet. Try to avoid the pain that comes with standing. Listen to the doctor and heed their counsel. The advice they give is helpful to catapult you through treatment.
Use the doctor as a resource. Ask questions when they come up. The doctor will help you become more comfortable with the pain you're suffering from.
It is important not to overdo it as you heal. Overuse of the foot will cause unnecessary pain and could lead to pain in other areas of the foot. The last thing you need is another problem to deal with.
I regularly add more detailed strategies I use to combat living with pain. Managing pain is more than one page of advice. I hope my strategies for managing my pain will help you too.