Ankle pain involves any discomfort in one or both ankles.
Alternative Names :
Pain - ankle
Ankle pain is most often due to an ankle sprain. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments that connect bones to one another. In most cases, the ankle is twisted inward (inversion injury), and there are tiny tears in the ligaments that may make the ankle somewhat unstable. This tearing leads to swelling, inflammation, and bruising about the ankle, making it difficult to bear weight on the joint. Occasionally, bones can be broken from a severe blow or fall.
Once an ankle is sprained, the injury may take a few weeks to many months to fully heal. Often, the injured ankle remains a little weaker and less stable than the uninjured one. A proper rehabilitation program can prevent this problem.
Other structures in the ankle that can be damaged, and thus cause pain, are tendons (which join muscles to bone), cartilage (which cushion joints), and blood vessels (which leads to bruising). Occasionally, adjacent areas can cause pain to be referred to the ankle -- these include the foot bones, lower leg bones, knee joint, and even hip joint.
Common Causes :
In addition to ankle sprains and other injuries, ankle pain can be caused by arthritis, gout, pseudogout, and infection.
Gout occurs when you produce too much uric acid (a waste product in the body). The extra uric acid gets deposited and forms crystals in joints, rather than being excreted in the urine.
Pseudogout is similar to gout. In this condition, calcium deposits in one or more of your joints, causing pain, redness, and swelling.
The types of arthritis that can cause ankle pain include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic gouty arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Septic arthritis
Home Care :
- If yofeel pain in your ankle, rest it for several days. Try NOT to move the affected area.
- If your ankle is unstable, support it, especially during weight-bearing activity (like standing or walking). ACE bandages work well. If this does not provide enough support, yomay need to be fit for a brace by a health care professional. Crutches or a cane can help take the weight off a sore or unsteady ankle.
- For swelling, keep your foot elevated above the level of the heart, including while yoare sleeping. Ice the area right away. Continue to apply ice for 10 to 15 minutes every hour for the first day and then every 3 to 4 hours for 2 more days.
- Try acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and swelling.
Even after the pain subsides, you will need to keep pressure off of it for up to 10 days for a mild sprain and up to 5 weeks for a more severe sprain.
Once you have healed adequately, you can start exercises to strengthen your ankle and avoid injury in the future. Do not begin these exercises until a health care professional tells you it is safe to start. One exercise, for example, involves balancing on your healing foot and hopping.
For arthritis of the ankle, take medication exactly as prescribed. When the pain and swelling begin to decrease, gently begin to exercise the joint again. Swimming is good, followed by stretching. Walking can be added later. Exercises can be done several times a day; but DO NOT overdo it. Pain is a message from your body to stop.
Call your health care provider if :
Go to the hospital or call an emergency number (such as 911) right away if:
- You suspect a broken bone.
- The joint appears to be deformed.
- You have a serious injury, or severe pain when not bearing weight.
- There is an audible popping sound and immediate difficulty using the joint.
Call your doctor if :
- Swelling does not go down within 2 to 3 days.
- You have symptoms of infection -- the area becomes red, more painful, or warm, or you have a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The pain does not go away after several weeks.
What to expect at your health care provider's office:
Your doctor will perform a physical examination, including a detailed examination of the ankles, and ask questions such as:
- Does the pain shift from joint to joint?
- Is the pain the same in both ankles?
- Did the pain begin suddenly and severely?
- Did the pain begin slowly and mildly and then get worse?
- Did the pain resolve spontaneously in less than 6 weeks?
- Does the ankle feel warm to the touch?
- Does the ankle hurt when you are not bearing weight on it?
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include the following:
- X-ray of the ankle and possibly the foot
- Aspiration of synovial fluid (fluid from the joint space) and synovial fluid analysis
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), special foot gear, or braces may be prescribed. Surgery is occasionally necessary.
- Lose weight if you are overweight. Extra pounds put strain on your ankles.
- Warm-up and stretch the muscles and tendons that anchor the ankle before exercising.
- Avoid sports and activities for which you are not properly conditioned.
- Make sure that shoes, including athletic shoes, fit you properly and are comfortable.
- Avoid high-heeled shoes.
If you are prone to ankle pain or twisting of your ankle, use ankle support braces like air-casts, ACE bandages, or lace-up ankle supports during certain activities, like playing basketball.
A sprain is caused by the twisting or bending of a joint into a position it was not designed to move. The ankle is the most commonly sprained joint.
Some common symptoms of a sprain are pain around the joint, swelling, and bruising.
Similar of Ankle Pain