You use it all the time without thinking about it. Most people don’t worry about it at all until it starts to ache. The joint between your leg and foot is a crucial part of your lower limbs, making it possible to move and support your entire body. You can’t take a single step or stand without using it. So when you’re experiencing ankle pain, it can severely limit your mobility.
Many Conditions, One Problem
Pain in the ankle is a general complaint that covers a variety of problems. It is a complicated joint; it supports your body weight, absorbs the shock of your steps, and allows your foot to rotate both side to side as well as up and down. Numerous muscles, tendons, and ligaments work together to make it functional, from holding the bones together to providing movement. Damage to any of these structures, the bones, the nerves, or anything else in the joint creates pain. Sprains are one of the most common problems, but tendonitis, arthritis, fractures, connective tissue ruptures, nerve injuries, and circulatory problems can all cause discomfort.
Because ankle pain describes so many possible conditions, it refers to many different symptoms, too. Depending on what is injured, you can experience discomfort in the front, sides, or back of the joint. There may or may not be swelling or bruising. Frequently certain movements hurt worse than others. Generally it’s unpleasant—and sometimes impossible—to walk. Since you can’t avoid putting pressure on the joint when you walk, normal activities can make it harder to recover from a problem. You need intentional care and treatment to prevent additional damage, complications, and chronic weakness.
Identify and Treat
Like most problems in the body, your chance of successful recovery is highest when you identify a specific condition. Have our expert staff diagnose the unique cause of your ankle pain. A thorough examination and diagnostic images can help our doctors pinpoint the possible culprits for your pain. Then we can create a plan with you to remedy the problem and restore your ankle.
Your body needs a chance to repair the damage without constant activity slowing the process. This may mean taking a break from your normal activities to allow the joint to rest. In some cases, resting may also include immobilization in a brace or a cast, and possibly a period of time without bearing weight on the ankle. If there’s swelling, you’ll need to take steps to reduce the inflammation. This typically includes icing and elevation. We may recommend anti-inflammatory medications as well. Shoe changes and orthotics help you stabilize the whole foot and limit any incorrect biomechanics that may have contributed to your discomfort. As the joint recovers, you may need physical therapy to restore your strength and range of motion. In a few cases, conservative measures do not work; you may need surgery to repair damaged tissues and relieve the discomfort.
If you’re struggling with ankle pain, don’t continue limping around on your own. The problem usually gets worse with time and becomes much harder to resolve. Seek help as soon as you start experiencing the discomfort. Contact us at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona for an appointment or more information about your lower limb health. You can reach us by using the website contact form, calling either of our office locations, or sending a fax: for the Chandler office, call (480) 963-9000 and fax (480) 963-0375; for the Gilbert office, call (480) 981-1800 and fax (480) 981-0229.