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What is causing the pain in my foot and ankle?

It is possible for an ankle to pain for a variety of causes, ranging from minor traumas to chronic medical disorders such as arthritis.

It is possible to have ankle discomfort as a result of a number of injuries to the bones, muscles, and soft tissue components supporting the ankle.

Depending on the source of the pain, it may be intense and shooting, or it may be a slow aching and throb. Swelling around the ankle bone is another symptom that people may experience.

Ankle discomfort is often caused by minor injuries such as sprains and strains of the ankle joint. Minor injuries may easily be treated at home, but people should contact a doctor if they feel they have a medical issue or if they have an injury that interferes with their normal activities.

There are many frequent reasons why someone’s ankle may ache, as well as some suggestions on how to alleviate the discomfort.

Ankle fracture

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An ankle fracture is a break in one or more of the bones of the ankle, such as the tibia or fibula, that causes the ankle to become unstable. The fracture might be a single, clean break, or it can be a series of minor breaks that separate the bone.

Ankle fractures are characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety and discomfort that might spread across the lower leg
  • Ankle swelling that extends farther than the ankle.
  • blistering around the location of the injury
  • walking and moving the foot with difficulty because of a shattered bone pressing on the skin

Treatment for an ankle fracture is dependent on the degree of the injury as well as the location of the fracture. It is not always essential to have surgery.

Gout

Gout is a painful condition that may cause extreme swelling and discomfort.
Gout is a painful condition that may cause extreme swelling and discomfort.

Inflammatory arthritis, often known as gout, arises when uric acid crystals build up in the body, causing pain and swelling. Gout is a condition that typically affects the foot and ankle, particularly the big toe.

Gout symptoms include the following:

  • Pain that is frequently severe at night or shortly after getting up
  • swelling around the ankle
  • warming sensation across the ankle joint

People who have a family history of gout are more prone to get the ailment than others. In addition to diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure, there are many more factors that contribute to gout. The use of certain medications, such as diuretics and niacin, may potentially raise the chance of developing the condition.

Infection

It is possible for germs to penetrate the skin or joint surrounding the ankle as a result of a prior incision, trauma, or surgical procedure. This may result in an infection.

The following are the signs and symptoms of an ankle infection:

In certain cases, a doctor may recommend either oral or injectable antibiotics depending on the severity of the illness. People should make every effort to get treatment for the infection as soon as possible in order to prevent it from worsening further.

Achilles tendon rupture

Achilles tendon rupture
Taking some antibiotics might raise your chances of rupturing your achilles tendon.

It is a strong band of tissue that joins the heel bone and calf muscle at the back of the heel. Overstretching or rupturing the tendon during running or exercising, or after a fall, may cause it to tear or rupture.

It is also possible that using corticosteroids or certain antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones such as Cipro, would enhance the probability that a person will have a tendon rupture in the future.

The following are the signs and symptoms of an Achilles tendon rupture:

  • a restriction in one’s range of motion
  • Ankle or calf discomfort that develops out of nowhere
  • ankle pain that feels like it’s popping or cracking
  • difficulties going up stairs on tiptoes or standing on tiptoes
  • A swelling on the back of the leg or the ankle

Achilles tendon ruptures often need surgical intervention in order to be repaired.

Ankle sprain or strain

The terms “sprain” and “strain” refer to two different forms of soft tissue injury. Depending on the degree of the injury, both may cause substantial pain and suffering.

A sprain is an overstretching or tearing of a ligament, which is a band of tough tissue that joins bones together. Sprains may vary from minor to severe in severity.

A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon that occurs over time. Tendons are thick threads that connect muscle to bone and help the body move. Stress may manifest itself in a variety of ways, from a little overstretch to a total tear.

Because the ankles are a complex joint that is subjected to a great deal of everyday activity, they are a popular site for sprains and strains.

Ankle sprains and strains are characterized by the following symptoms:

  • a popping or snapping sound
  • instability of the ankle joint
  • swelling
  • tenderness

These sorts of injuries are most often sustained when participating in physical activity, such as playing sports or jogging.

Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a condition characterized by the breakdown of the protecting cartilage in the ankles. Ankle joint discomfort and instability might result as a result of the bones rubbing against each other.

Osteoarthritis symptoms include the following:

  • ankle pain
  • growth of bony areas over the ankle joint
  • stiffness
  • swelling
  • trouble walking or bending the ankle

Over time, the symptoms of osteoarthritis worsen, although medication may help to delay or halt the evolution of the ailment.

Flatfoot disorder

Acquired flatfoot condition, also known as fallen arches or posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, is a problem of the tendon that maintains the arch of the foot that generally affects only one foot. It is caused by a disorder of the tendon that supports the arch of the foot.

Flatfoot disorder is characterized by the contact of the arch of the foot with the ground.

The following are some of the symptoms of flatfoot disorder:

  • flattening of the foot’s arch
  • pain on the outside of the foot
  • pain when doing activities that challenge the tendon, such as hiking, climbing stairs, or running
  • rolling the ankle inward, or overpronation
  • swelling around the foot and ankle

It is common for flatfoot condition to be progressive, which means that it becomes worse over time. Nonsurgical procedures, on the other hand, may frequently be used to fix the problem.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis may be treated with medicine if a person has it.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition in which the immune system attacks the synovium, the lining of the joints. It affects people of all ages.

It is believed that 90 percent of persons who have rheumatoid arthritis have difficulties with their feet and ankles, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

The following are examples of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms:

  • difficulty moving the ankle
  • pain
  • swelling

Hands, wrists, back, and other joints might be affected by this ailment as well as other body parts. Rheumatoid arthritis worsens with time, but patients may manage their symptoms and keep the illness from advancing by taking specific drugs, which are available over the counter.

When should you see the doctor?

If a person has had an injury that has limited their ability to move their foot and ankle, they should consult with a medical professional immediately. If they believe that their ankle has been fractured, they should seek immediate medical attention.

People should also seek medical attention if their ankle pain symptoms intensify rather than improve.

Diagnosis

An examination of the foot and ankle will be performed by the doctor in order to look for any apparent deformities, evidence of infection, or changes in the skin.

In addition, the following tests may be performed by a doctor to discover the source of the ankle pain:

  • X-rays, CT scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are examples of imaging examinations.
  • blood tests, which can help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and infections
  • skin or fluid samples to test for the presence of bacteria, fungi, and viruses

Treatments and home remedies

The treatment for ankle pain is dependent on the underlying cause of the pain. For example, a doctor would most likely prescribe medicines to treat an ankle infection if the patient has one. Medical diseases such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis, for example, may be controlled with medicine prescribed by a physician.

When it comes to injuries, physicians will often prescribe using over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication, resting, and exercising to help the body heal more quickly. Severe ankle injuries and trauma, on the other hand, may need surgical intervention.

Home remedies

The RICE technique is a primary therapy for small injuries that may be used immediately. It is possible to employ this procedure at home to alleviate pain and swelling in the ankle region.

RICE stands for:

  • Rest: Resting the injured ankle joint helps it to recover more quickly and reduces the amount of the damage.
  • Ice: It is beneficial to apply ice to the afflicted region in order to reduce the swelling. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel for 10–15 minutes at a time, multiple times each day, for best results.
  • Compression: Compressive bracing or wrapping the ankle may assist decrease swelling and give support, which minimizes the likelihood of additional damage.
  • Elevation: In order to support the ankle and encourage blood and fluid flow into the heart, multiple pillows should be used to elevate it.

Taking over-the-counter pain medicines such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen may also be beneficial in reducing symptoms.

Changing one’s shoes may often assist a person in alleviating foot and ankle discomfort. Footwear with a broad toe box that is supportive may help to alleviate strain on the ankle and decrease the risk of suffering ankle discomfort in the future.

A doctor may sometimes prescribe the use of a customized insert known as an orthotic insole to alleviate foot pain. Soft to firm, they provide support for the feet and come in a variety of textures. The orthotic insoles that I use are available for purchase on the internet.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles found that footwear therapies such as orthotics may benefit those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and gout, among other medical disorders. The findings appeared in the journal Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism.

Conclusion

An ankle injury or medical condition may cause a person’s ankle to suffer in a variety of ways.

If a person’s ankle discomfort is interfering with their everyday activities, they should consider visiting a doctor for treatment. Detecting and treating probable causes early on may help prevent an injury, disease, or infection from becoming worse.

Sources

  • https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/ankle-pain
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324663
  • https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/where-it-hurts/ankle-pain/causes/ankle-diseases.php
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049017217305905
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279301/
  • https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/sprains-and-strains/advanced

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