Ankle pain is defined as pain or discomfort in any region of or around the ankle joint. Ankle discomfort may be caused by a variety of different causes, such as injury, rheumatoid arthritis, and natural wear and tear. Based on the underlying reason, you may have pain or stiffness around the ankle in certain instances. It is conceivable that your ankle may expand to the point where you will be unable to bear weight on it.
Rest, ice, and pain medications may help decrease ankle discomfort and stiffness in most instances. Medical professionals may be able to help in the event of injuries or rheumatoid arthritis. A broad variety of problems may often be addressed without the need of surgery. If the damage is serious, such as a fractured ankle bone, or if you have persistent ankle discomfort that does not respond to nonsurgical treatment choices, surgical intervention may be needed. After sustaining an ankle injury or having ankle surgery, it may be beneficial to engage in a physical therapy program. After surgery, physical therapy may be utilized to help strengthen the muscles that support ankles. This treatment may help with pain alleviation and injury prevention in the future.
Ankles are part of the musculoskeletal system, which means that they assist you in carrying your body weight. It is formed when the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) connect with the foot bone to form the ankle joint (talus). Ligures (also known as ligaments) are fibrous connective tissues that connect the body’s bones. A complex network of tendons, muscles, and soft tissues allows the ankle to move. The ankle is particularly susceptible to damage due to its complex anatomy. Depending on where the pain is (on the inside or outside of your ankle), it may spread down the Achilles tendon that links your lower leg muscles to your heel bone.
Prevalence of Ankle Pain:
The prevalence of ankle pain can vary depending on age, lifestyle, and geographic location. Common causes of ankle pain, like sprains and strains, are relatively frequent among the general population, with many people experiencing them at some point. Chronic conditions like osteoarthritis tend to be more common in older adults.
Ankle pain is a common sign of a variety of injuries and diseases, including arthritis. Ankle injuries may occur in a number of ways, resulting in pain and discomfort.
- Bursitis: It is a disorder in which the bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that surround your joints and cause your bones to move, become inflamed. It is caused by inflamed bursa sacs causing inside ankle pain.
- Fractures: It may develop as a result of an accident or injury. Depending on the kind of fracture, ankle fractures may vary in severity from moderate to severe. Fractures of the ankle joint may occur in any region of the joint and may cause outside ankle pain. They may happen anywhere in the ankle joint. Ankle fractures are often accompanied with swelling and discomfort in the foot and ankle.
- Sprains: These are the most frequent cause of ankle discomfort. An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments in the ankle joint strain or tear, causing discomfort and swelling. The ankle is forced out of its usual position during a fast movement, leading to an ankle impingement. Ankle sprain is the common cause of side of ankle pain.
- Tendonitis: Also known as “irritated tendons,” is a soft-tissue illness that causes inflammation of the tendons. Tendons are connective tissue bands that attach muscles to bones and enable them to move. A ruptured tendon may occur at any moment (such as an Achilles tendon rupture). Tendonitis inside the ankle may result in certain cases. The anterior tibial is the tendon in front of the ankle. Chronic tendonitis occurs as a consequence of excessive usage or a serious ankle injury. If the tendon is not addressed right away, it may rupture, making therapy more difficult.
- Ankle Effusion: This condition, defined as fluid buildup in the synovium, has been related to a variety of different local and systemic diseases. Leg edema may be the cause of ankle effusion.
Other diseases and conditions that may cause ankle pain include arthritis, gout and infection. These conditions can result in inner ankle pain, anterior ankle pain and inside ankle bone pain. Furthermore, these are also responsible for inside ankle pain with no injury.
Ankle pain can manifest with various symptoms, and the severity and specific characteristics may vary depending on the underlying cause. Common symptoms of ankle pain include:
- Pain: The most noticeable symptom is localized or radiating pain in and around the ankle joint.
- Swelling: Swelling or inflammation of the ankle area is often present and can lead to tightness.
- Stiffness: Ankle pain can result in a reduced range of motion, making it difficult to move the joint.
- Bruising: Sometimes, injury-related ankle pain may be accompanied by visible bruising or discolouration.
- Instability: An instability or weakness in the ankle joint may make it difficult to bear weight or walk.
- Popping or clicking: Some conditions may cause unusual sounds when moving the ankle, such as popping or clicking.
- Numbness or tingling: In nerve-related ankle pain, individuals may experience numbness or tingling in the affected area.
To determine the cause of ankle pain, a healthcare professional will typically perform a thorough evaluation, which may include:
- Medical History: Discuss your medical history, previous injuries, and any recent activities that could have triggered the pain.
- Physical Examination: A physical examination of the ankle to assess for swelling, tenderness, range of motion, and stability.
- Imaging: X-rays, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), or CT (Computed Tomography) scans may be used to visualize the bones, ligaments, and soft tissues of the ankle.
- Ultrasound: This can assess soft tissue injuries like a tendon or ligament damage.
- Blood Tests: Sometimes, blood tests may be ordered to rule out systemic conditions such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.
The ankle pain treatment depends on the underlying cause. Standard treatment options may include:
- Rest: Giving the affected ankle time to heal and recover is essential. Avoid activities that aggravate the pain.
- Ice: Applying ice to the ankle can help reduce swelling and provide pain relief.
- Compression: Using a compression bandage can help control swelling and provide support.
- Elevation: Keeping the ankle elevated can further reduce swelling.
- Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can provide exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and stability in the ankle.
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or prescription medications may be used to manage pain and inflammation.
- Immobilization: In severe cases or after surgery, a brace, boot, or cast may be used to immobilize the ankle.
- Injections: Corticosteroid injections can reduce inflammation in certain conditions.
- Surgery: Surgery may be necessary for severe injuries or conditions such as fractures, ligament tears, or chronic instability.
When To See A Doctor
If you encounter any of the mentioned below, get medical attention right once:
- Any significant pain or swelling
- An open wound or a serious deformity
- Redness, warmth, and discomfort
- Chronic swelling that does not resolve after two to five days of at-home therapy
- Chronic pain that does not go away
This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about ankle pain or any other medical condition, please see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.