Why does my ankle hurt?

Ankle pain is a common complaint and can occur due to various reasons, from an injury or sprain to underlying medical conditions. If left untreated, ankle pain can lead to further complications, causing discomfort in other parts of the body such as the foot, knee, hip, or back. Understanding the causes and symptoms of ankle pain can help you seek appropriate treatment and prevent further damage. In this blog post, we'll explore the different causes of ankle pain and provide insights into how you can treat it effectively.

Common Causes of Ankle Pain

Pain in the ankle can have a big impact on your mobility and unlike some foot problems, it’s hard to compensate for pain in the ankle. The longer someone suffers from ankle pain the greater the chance the foot, knee, hip, or back can start to hurt.

Ankle pain can be caused by a variety of conditions and injuries, ranging from mild to severe. The most common causes of ankle pain include:

  1. Ankle Sprain - A sprained ankle is a common injury that occurs when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn. This can happen due to a sudden twist or turn of the ankle.

  2. Flat Feet - Flat feet, or fallen arches, can cause ankle pain by putting extra stress on the ankle joint and surrounding structures.

  3. Injured Ankle - Ankle injuries, such as fractures or dislocations, can cause significant pain and impact mobility.

  4. Arthritis - There are several types of arthritis that can affect the ankle joint, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. These conditions can cause inflammation and pain in the ankle.

  5. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome - This condition occurs when the nerve that runs through the ankle becomes compressed, causing pain and tingling sensations.

  6. General Wear and Tear - Because of how much force we put on our ankles with every step, wear and tear can lead to pain.

  7. Hereditary - Faulty movements of the foot and ankle because of hereditary factors can lead to severe ankle pain.

Figuring out exactly where the pain is coming from is the first step to finding a solution.

Symptoms of Ankle Pain

Symptoms of ankle pain can vary depending on the cause of the discomfort. If you have an ankle sprain, you may experience swelling, bruising, and pain when walking or standing. In some cases, you may feel a popping sensation at the time of the injury.

An injured ankle may also cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty walking. The pain can be localized to the ankle, or it may radiate up the leg. Some people may experience numbness or tingling in the foot and ankle, which can indicate nerve damage.

It's important to note that not all ankle pain is felt directly in the ankle. In fact, some people may experience pain on the inside of the ankle when the issue is coming from the outside. That's why a thorough exam is essential to determine the exact cause of the discomfort.

If you're experiencing ankle pain, don't delay seeking medical attention from your local Roanoke Podiatrist. An examination and X-rays can help identify the source of the pain and guide us to the most accurate diagnosis. Early treatment can prevent further damage and help you recover more quickly.

How to Treat Ankle Pain

When it comes to ankle pain treatment, rest is essential for healing, whether the pain is acute or chronic. Avoiding high-impact activities such as running and jumping can also help reduce soreness. Additionally, using an ankle brace for support can provide stability and help alleviate pain.

Applying ice to the affected area and taking anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen or Aleve can also provide temporary relief. However, for a long-term solution, seeking professional medical treatment is the best option.

At Shenandoah Podiatry, we offer various ankle pain treatment options tailored to each patient's specific condition and needs. Early diagnosis and treatment typically lead to faster recovery times and a reduction in the risk of chronic pain.

In cases where joint or ligament damage or tears occur, surgical options may be necessary. However, non-surgical methods such as physical therapy, immobilization, and bracing can be highly effective for less severe conditions.

When to See Your Local Podiatrist for Ankle Pain

If you are experiencing ankle pain that does not improve with home remedies, or if the pain is severe, it may be time to see us at Shenandoah Podiatry. Additionally, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms along with your ankle pain, seek medical attention right away:

  • Inability to bear weight on the affected foot

  • Swelling or redness that does not go away

  • Severe pain or difficulty walking

  • Deformity in the ankle joint

  • Fever or chills

These symptoms could indicate a more serious underlying condition, such as a fracture or infection, that requires medical attention. In some cases, a doctor may order diagnostic tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to properly diagnose the cause of your ankle pain.

It is important to seek medical attention for ankle pain that persists or worsens over time. Delaying treatment could lead to further damage to the ankle joint, as well as pain and discomfort in other areas of the body, such as the knees, hips, or back.

Remember, it is always better to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention for ankle pain that is not improving. We can properly diagnose the cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan that will help you get back on your feet and pain-free as quickly as possible.

Dr. Jennifer Keller
Roanoke, VA Foot and Ankle Podiatrist
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