Ankle Pain: When to Seek Help

Ankle pain comes in many forms. From sprains and strains to arthritis and stress fractures, ankle pain can make walking and standing difficult. Though it can be tempting to wait it out and see if the pain dissipates on its own, ignoring ankle pain may only make the problem worse. 

About 40% of ankle injuries are sprains, but determining the cause of your pain isn’t easy to do on your own. That’s why ankle pain that lasts more than a few days is an indication that it’s time to seek help.

Lisa K. Burson, DPM, and Joe Aoun, DPM, along with our team at The Foot & Ankle Specialists are experts in foot and ankle health. We’re here to help you find lasting relief from your ankle pain and reduce your risk of complications that impact your mobility and your health.

Read on to find out more about what could be causing your ankle pain and whether it’s time to schedule an appointment with the professionals.

Acute ankle injuries

Maybe you took an awkward step or perhaps you were playing sports and felt your ankle twist. Whatever it was, you’re now suffering ankle pain. Along with pain, acute ankle injuries often bring symptoms like:

Sprains and strains are a top cause of ankle pain, and these injuries are particularly common in athletes. Sprains occur when a ligament stretches or tears, while strains are the result of a muscle or tendon stretch or tear.

When you suffer an ankle injury, make an appointment with the podiatrist. The RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is often effective in treating mild-to-moderate injuries, but getting professional care ensures that your ankle heals properly.

If left untreated, what begins as an acute injury may develop into a chronic problem. For example, spraining your ankle can make it weaker, leading to more sprains and chronic ankle instability even after the initial sprain has healed.

Chronic ankle problems

Chronic ankle pain is another good reason to make an appointment at the podiatrist. Unlike acute injuries, you may not be able to trace your pain to a specific incident. But if your ankle bothers you day in and day out, you shouldn’t ignore the pain. 

A number of common conditions contribute to chronic ankle pain, including:

Some types of fractures, like compression fractures, are the result of acute injury and need immediate care. But others, particularly stress fractures, grow over time. They may not be noticeable at first, but cause increasing pain over time.

Arthritis and certain other conditions wear away cartilage and bone in your ankle over time, causing chronic pain and stiffness. These symptoms can contribute to chronic swelling and decreased mobility. 

Diagnosing and treating your ankle pain

When ankle pain affects your mobility, it’s time to seek help. Dr. Burson and Dr. Aoun specialize in identifying the underlying issues causing your pain and recommend personalized treatment plans to improve ankle health.

Come to your appointment prepared to discuss your ankle pain and any other symptoms that are bothering you. Together, we review your medical history, and the doctors perform a physical exam that may include X-rays or other diagnostic testing. 

We tailor your recovery plan to meet your needs. Some patients require corrective medical equipment, like walking boots or splints. Physical therapy and medication, like steroid injections, may also be elements of your treatment plan.

In cases of severe ankle damage, our doctors may recommend ankle surgery. Arthroscopic surgery can treat a range of chronic ankle conditions, from arthritis to damaged tendons and ligaments.

Don’t ignore ankle pain and instability. Schedule your first appointment at The Foot & Ankle Specialists by phone or online today.

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