Ankle Pain

One of the most aggravating types of pain is the kind that occurs in the feet.  This type of pain complicates everyday activities including walking and standing.  It even makes it difficult to wear the normal shoes people are used to.  While foot pain varies, ankle pain is actually a common type of pain and a top injury that many athletes suffer from.

Where It Starts And What It Feels Like

Ankle pain is confined to the area around the ankle, but it can be on either side, both sides, around the back in the Achilles tendon or in the front of the leg where the ankle meets the foot or heads upward into the shin. The pain may be dull and throbbing or it may be sharp and stabbing, and it can vary between hurting all the time or only hurting when it is used – as in when the person is trying to walk or when pressure is put on it.

How often the ankle hurts and whether the person who has the injury needs medical attention can depend on what's causing the pain in the first place. It is important to find out what is causing the pain, especially if it persists for a long period of time, gets worse, or doesn't seem to be healing up.  

Common Causes And Conditions of Ankle Pain

Obvious feet injuries are common.  And, ankle pain is a common problem among those that suffer with feet injuries.  Normally many active individuals deal with ankle pain because of the nature of their lifestyles.  However, they are not the only ones who struggle because of this annoying and irritating pain.  Many things can cause ankle pain, and it's usually not a serious issue. Often bed rest is enough to bring things back to normal. Some of the more common ankle pain causes are listed here.

•    Sprains, strains, tendinitis – these are quite common when it comes to ankle pain problems. It's very easy to twist an ankle and cause it to hurt for some time.
•    Breaks and fractures – if someone breaks an ankle or fractures it, the pain is immediate and usually much stronger than if it was only sprained or strained. It also takes much longer to heal and more care is needed.
•    Joint or cartilage damage – when people get older or repeatedly injure a joint, sometimes they destroy cartilage or tendons surrounding that joint, or actually wear down the bones themselves. This can cause chronic pain that often acts up during exercise, in cold weather, or when the weather is changing.
•    Arthritis – arthritis in particular can lead to joint problems, causing the ankles to suffer.  There are various types of arthritis that affect the health of the foot and lead to pain in the ankles.
•    Nerve conditions – nerve injuries could cause ankle pain.  Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a major foot problem that occurs in the nerve near the anklebone.
•    Obesity – overweight individuals put more pressure on their bones, therefore they are more at risk for developing a foot related injury.

Common Treatment Options for Ankle Pain

Treating ankle pain can involve a lot of different things, depending on what the pain is coming from. If it's from something simple a doctor might not even be needed. However, a doctor may be summoned to help individuals that are suffering from more extreme ankle pains.  Basically it depends on the situation.  And, it's important to know some of the more common treatment options, listed here.

•    Ice or heat (or both) are often used on sprains and strains, and the ankle area is particularly vulnerable to those kinds of things. If someone has strained or sprained his ankle, ice can be used alternately along with heat in order to reduce swelling and pain.
•    Wrapping the ankle is another common treatment. It can help to reduce swelling and can also immobilize the ankle and keep it steady in order to help it heal. Pain is often reduced when the ankle is immobilized, as well, because there is less movement.
•    A cast can be used if the ankle is fractured or broken. That will hold the ankle still and allow the bones to heal back together properly.
•    Surgery is a possibility, especially if the ankle is badly broken or if there is cartilage or tendon damage that has to be repaired. Most ankle pain problems don't require surgery, but it's important to remember that some of them do, and seeing a doctor can help sort out the severity of the injury, what's causing the pain, and whether further testing is needed.
•    Massages and compression of the anklebone are often helpful to decrease pain in the ankle and relief pressure in the foot.
•    Losing weight can also serve as an effective treatment because it lessens the load on an individual’s feet throughout the day.

Holistic Approach

In addition, there are many situations where ankle pain could be effectively relieved using the practices of alternative medicine.  These practices are often extremely helpful at treating and preventing future injuries.  And, thanks to the information available, there are many options that allow people to treat this pain naturally.  Here are some suggestions.

•    Acupuncture is one of the most popular forms of alternative medicine used today.  It has become the contemporary form of medicine.  And those who take advantage of this treatment option will find that their symptoms will be relieved easily and quickly with little or no side effects.
•    Vinegar is a great option to help sooth sprains, strains, tendinitis and other general foot issues.  Individuals can wrap their feet in hot and cold vinegar wraps.  
•    Cucumbers work great for swollen feet.  Place them on your ankle and cover them with a cotton cloth or bandage.  The cucumber will absorb excess fluid in the foot and help to speed recovery.
•    In addition, lecithin seeds are also a common natural remedy for swelling feet and ankles.  For years, several pregnant women have utilized these seeds to relieve their pain.
•    Boil a mixture of water, half a tablespoon of molasses, and one tablespoon sanuf.  Then dunk the foot in this mixture for 5 minutes.  It is extremely healing.
•    Lastly, eat foods that are rich in Vitamin E.  This vitamin helps combat swelling issues.  Good foods to try include spinach, almond oil, sweet potato, sunflower seeds, and wheat germs.

When To See A Doctor for Ankle Pain

Many times ankle pain is a minor injury that requires a little bit of rest.  Typically after the person has rested, the ankle will recover properly.  Unfortunately, not all ankle pain results in a quick recovery.  Some problems are much more severe and need attention quickly.  Here is information that addresses proper decision making for ankle pain.

•    Some ankle pain requires immediate attention from a doctor.  The following are important issues that should be addressed with a doctor immediately if they occur.  First, see the doctor immediately if the foot or leg begins to bend at an abnormal angle.  Also, see the doctor when pain in the feet becomes severe.  In addition, numbness or tingling in the foot is also a problem that should be addressed with the doctor as soon as possible.  Lastly, those that can’t move their feet need to talk to their doctor immediately.
•    After ankle sprains, visiting the doctor may also be important.  Check in with the doctor if there was a popping sound when the ankle was sprained.  Also, talk to the doctor if the ankle is moderately or severely bruised.  Individuals that cannot walk, put weight on their feet, or feel like their ankle is unstable should also talk to their doctor.
•    Lastly, if no progress or improvement is made, consult with the doctor.  Noticeable progress should occur after a week or two.  In addition, the swelling should be gone after 2 weeks.

Managing Ankle Pain

Finally, to effectively manage ankle pain, staying off the foot is vital.  In order to recover individuals need to rest.  The swelling will not go down if rest does not happen.  Try to avoid the pain that comes with standing.  Listen to the doctor and heed their counsel.  The advice they give is helpful to catapult individuals through treatment.  Many do recover.  However, they manage their pain along the way to prevent future injuries and promote better healing.

Use the doctor as a resource.  Ask questions when they come up.  The doctor will serve as a resource, helping the patient to become more comfortable with the pain they are suffering from.  Taking advantage of the knowledge they have to offer is smart.  This knowledge is helpful to man and chances are it will be helpful to you.  

Also, try not to overdo it during this time.  Overuse of the foot will cause unnecessary pain and could lead to pain in other areas of the foot.  The last thing a person needs is another problem to deal with.  Instead, let the pain calm on its own.  Be patient and it might be surprising how quickly things begin to look up. 

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