What’s Causing Your Ankle Pain? Is It a Sprain, a Fracture– or Something Else?
At its mildest, ankle pain is uncomfortable. In its most severe cases, ankle pain can be debilitating, rendering the sufferer unable to walk. Most often, ankle pain is described as a dull, persistent ache that occurs when the ankles bear weight or when they are in motion. Ankle pain can occur in anyone, regardless of age or gender. However, it’s most common in athletes and men under the age of 24. In women, ankle pain is more prevalent over the age of 30.
What causes ankle pain?
Often, ankle pain occurs after a fall or sports injury. However, there are numerous other causes of ankle pain. A sprain is one of the most common causes. An ankle sprain results from injury to the ligaments that connect the ankle bones. If one of the bones in the ankle is fractured, ankle pain is often severe.
Sprains and fractures due to injury aren’t the only causes of ankle pain. Less common causes include gout, osteoarthritis, and even infection. In runners, a frequent cause of ankle pain is Achilles tendonitis. This occurs when the calf muscles at the back of the leg are overworked.
Diagnosing ankle pain
To determine the cause of your ankle pain, your podiatrist will begin by asking you questions: how long have you been in pain? What were you doing when the pain began? Then, your podiatrist will examine your ankle. Often, an X-ray is ordered to determine if there is a sprain or fracture. Sometimes, fluid is taken from the ankle joint to check for infection.
Treating ankle pain
The treatment plan for ankle pain depends on the underlying cause. Many cases of ankle pain are treated with rest and immobilization. You might be required to use crutches for several weeks. Your podiatrist might also suggest elevating your ankle when you’re at rest. Additionally, your podiatrist might also direct you to apply ice to your ankle a few times each day in an effort to reduce swelling. Compression bandages can also be used to reduce swelling. Anti-inflammatory medications might also be recommended to help with pain and swelling.
If you’re suffering from ankle pain that is not resolving, please contact us today to learn more.