Ankle pain can develop for different reasons, but the most common causes include:
Ankle pain often develops following a traumatic injury such as a car accident, sports injury or slip-and-fall accident. Often, ankle pain is accompanied by swelling, redness and tenderness around the joint, as well as increased pain when walking or flexing the joint, bruising and a feeling of instability when placing weight on the joint. In more severe cases, the joint may be misshapen.
Diagnosing ankle pain begins with a thorough physical examination of the joint and a review of the symptoms. Gentle passive and active movements and exercises during the exam can help identify the specific area of injury and also can be helpful in determining the underlying cause. Most people with ankle pain will also have diagnostic imaging studies like x-rays to see “inside” the joint. In some cases, a minimally-invasive procedure called arthroscopy may be used to gain a clearer picture of the joint interior, using a slim, flexible instrument equipped with a camera.
Treatment will depend on the results of the examination and the cause of the underlying pain and other symptoms. Sometimes, splinting or casting are effective in providing temporary stability to the joint to enable the joint structures and surrounding soft tissues to heal. Oral pain medicine or injected medications may be used to decrease inflammation and pain. Sometimes, surgery is needed to correct defects or repair damaged portions of the joint. Surgery often can be performed using a minimally invasive approach through a series of very small incisions. Once the surgery is complete, the ankle will be supported by a cast during healing.
Ankle pain is a signal that something is wrong with the joint. Anytime pain, swelling, joint instability, “popping” noises or sensations in the joint, or other symptoms occur, an appointment should be made to evaluate the joint.
At The Center for Foot Disorders, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.
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