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What is Ankle Pain?

Ankle pain refers to any form of pain or discomfort affecting the ankle joint. Your ankles are more prone to injury and pain since they bear the weight of your entire body.

The ankle joint is composed of three bones: the tibia, fibula, and talus. It connects the leg to the foot. The tibia or shinbone, and fibula or calf bone, are lower leg bones that articulate with the talus or ankle bone. These bones are held together by a wide range of ligaments, tendons, and muscles which allow foot mobility.

What are the Causes of Ankle Pain?

Common causes of ankle pain include:

  • Sprains due to stretching of ligaments
  • Arthritis
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Nerve Damage (Neuropathy)
  • Flatfeet
  • Direct trauma
  • Foot Tumors
  • Fractures
  • Infection

What are the Symptoms that Accompany Ankle Pain?

Some of the common signs and symptoms that accompany ankle pain include:

  • Ankle swelling and redness
  • Bruising
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Stiffness and weakness
  • Instability
  • Inability to bear weight on the affected ankle

Diagnosis of Ankle Pain

Your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history and a physical examination of the ankle will be conducted. Your doctor may also recommend the following diagnostic tests:

  • X-rays: This study uses electromagnetic beams to produce images of the bones and can detect fractures.
  • CT scan: Special x-rays are used to produce images of any damage to the ligaments and tendons supporting the ankle
  • MRI Scan: An imaging study that uses a large magnetic field and radio waves to detect any damage to the soft tissues.
  • Ultrasound: This study uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the tissues while moving the ankle.

What are the Treatments for Ankle Pain?

Treatments for ankle pain include:

  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen to relieve pain and inflammation caused by an ankle injury.
  • Icing: Your doctor will advise you to apply an ice pack over a towel on the affected area for several minutes a day to relieve pain and swelling.
  • Physical Therapy: Strengthening and stretching exercises may be recommended if you have arthritis to help improve range of motion and strengthen ankle muscles.
  • Cortisone Injections: Injection of corticosteroid medication may help relieve pain and swelling.
  • Casting and splinting: If an ankle fracture is noted but the bone is correctly positioned, your physician may place the broken ankle in a cast or splint until the bone heals satisfactorily.
  • Closed reduction: If the ankle bone is displaced due to a fracture, your doctor will be able to gently manipulate and align the bones properly without the need for surgery. This procedure is called closed reduction and is performed under local anesthesia to numb the ankle area. Casting or splinting will then be performed.

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