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Ankle Pain In Adults | Ankle Pain Causes | Ankle Pain Treatments | Foot Physics

Ankle Pain In Adults | Ankle Pain Causes | Ankle Pain Treatments | Foot Physics

Ankle Pain Causes & Treatments
Ankle Pain Conditions and TreatmentsAnkle pain has many causes. The ankle is an important weight-bearing joint formed by three bones: the tibia, the fibula and the talus. The end of the tibia (the shin bone) and the end of the smaller fibula bone wrap around the talus, the major bone, to form the ankle joint. Ankle injury and damage can be both painful and debilitating for young and old alike.

Our Orthopaedic Podiatrist, Chris Parish, has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating ankle pain and ankle injury.

To discuss your ankle injury or to make an appointment, please contact us by phone or email, or send us a message

ContentsAnkle Sprain In AdultsTreatment of SprainGoutTreatment of GoutArthritisTreatment of ArthritisFractured / Broken AnkleTreatment of Fractured / Broken Ankle
Ankle Conditions and Treatments

Ankle Sprain in Adults
Ankle Sprain / Sprained AnkleA sprain is an injury to the ligaments (the rope-like strands of tissue) that connect bones together to form a strong structure. It is one of the most common causes of ankle pain. In most instances of sprain, the ankle twists inward, causing small tears in the ligaments. A partial tear or stretch is a minor sprain. When the ligaments are torn completely, this is a severe sprain and is referred to as a Type III Sprain. Approximately 1.5 million people go to UK accident and emergency departments each year with severe sprains.

An ankle sprain is a common sporting injury, especially in sports that involve running and jumping, landing from a jump, changing direction quickly, or lots of stop-starts. They also occur when walking, especially on uneven surfaces, and are often the result of oversupination (rolling outwards of the feet), which places excessive pressure on the ankle bones and ligaments.

A sprain can be very painful. You may experience an initial popping sound and feeling of 'giving way', followed by swelling and bruising. If the sprain is severe you will probably not be able to put weight on your leg and will probably have an egg-shaped swelling over the side of your ankle. Once an ankle is sprained, the injury may take a few weeks to several months to fully heal and the injured foot often remains a little weaker and less stable than the uninjured one if not properly treated.

A proper recovery program designed by an Orthopaedic Podiatrist can help to prevent future occurrences of sprains.

Treatment of a Sprained Ankle in Adults
Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the sprain.

RICE - Rest Ice Compression Elevation

As a general rule of thumb the 'R.I.C.E.' theory should be used to help reduce pain and swelling: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Rest your foot completely, apply ice to the affected area straight away (wrapped in a damp cloth and never directly to the skin so as to avoid 'ice burn'), compress the area by bandaging it to support the injury and elevate your foot, preferably by resting it on a pillow.

You may need X-Rays depending on the severity of the sprain. It is important you seek medical advice if you are unable to walk more than four steps on the affected ankle immediately after you injure it, if it feels numb or if you have a lot of pain, redness or swelling over a bony area of your foot.

In severe cases surgery may be necessary to repair tendons around the ankle joint.

Your Orthopaedic Podiatrist will be able to advise you on exercises that will help to restore the full range of movement in your ankle. It is important you seek the correct advice and treatment so as to prevent future ankle sprains.

Custom-made orthotic insoles, prescription insoles that fit inside your shoes, can help to treat the underlying cause of ankle sprains and provide stability and support to help prevent future occurrences.

Gout (causing Ankle Pain)
Gout is an inflammatory condition caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood. It occurs when the liver produces more uric acid than the body can excrete in urine or when an excessively rich diet produces more uric acid than the kidneys can filter from the blood, causing crystalline uric acid deposits to settle in the joints. Gout usually affects the joint of the big toe and the ankle joints. Gout can occur in men and women but most commonly affects men over the age of 50. Diabetes, obesity, kidney disease and sickle cell anaemia can increase the risk of developing gout.

Other risk factors include regularly drinking alcohol; it interferes with the removal of uric acid from the body, a high dietary intake of rich foods (cheese, oily fish, chicken, red meats, shellfish and lentils) and medications that may interfere with the body's ability to remove uric acid (aspirin and diuretics for example).

Gout can be very painful. Symptoms tend to include intense throbbing pain, stiffness, redness and swelling. Attacks can last for up to five days at a time. Due to its inflammatory nature, gout is often referred to as a form of arthritis or gouty arthritis. It is however, different from osteoarthritis.

Treatment for Gout
Correct diagnosis is extremely important. Your Orthopaedic Podiatrist will examine your foot and discuss with you your lifestyle and medical history prior to treating you for gout.

He may also request an X-Ray of your foot to confirm diagnosis or insert a needle into the affected joint and draw a sample of the fluid that lubricates the joint (called synovial fluid), to determine whether uric acid crystals are present. A blood test, if taken, may also reveal elevated levels of uric acid in the blood.

To provide immediate relief of symptoms, your Orthopaedic Podiatrist will probably recommend a course of medication to your GP. The most common medication used is called Allopurinal.

For long term improvement of gout, custom-made orthotics - cushioning insoles that fit inside your shoes, can help to reduce pain in the ball area of the foot, as can protective shields and toe pads.

If ankles are severely swollen, shoe stretching may help. Dietary changes can also make a difference. Gout-friendly foods include cherries and pineapple, most berries, fruit and vegetables, brown rice and foods made from corn, rice, potato or buckwheat flours. If you are overweight, losing weight will help. Acute attacks of gout are generally treated with a variety of prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. Ice or cooling lotions can also help during an acute phase.

Ankle Arthritis
Ankle arthritis - explanation and treatmentsArthritis refers to damage to, or inflammation of, a joint. The most common cause of ankle arthritis is wear and tear; typically a person with this type of arthritis will have worn out the joint between the shin bone (the tibia) and the ankle bone (the talus). This kind of wear and tear is most commonly the result of a previous injury to the joint. A fracture, for example, can cause damage to the cartilage (the connective tissue that cushions joints) leading to accelerated arthritis.

Inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, joint infections, and being overweight, can also damage joint cartilage and result in ankle arthritis.

Symptoms include ankle pain (and sometimes affected tendons), ankle stiffness, swelling, bone spurs (lumps), instability and in extreme cases, ankle deformity.

Treatment of Ankle Arthritis
Arthritis is usually diagnosed following an examination and X-Ray. Your Orthopaedic Podiatrist will then discuss with you the various treatment options available. The most common treatment for ankle arthritis is usually in the form of custom-made orthotics (prescription insoles). These will help to support the foot and reduce discomfort. Special braces, called ankle-foot-orthoses, can be tailored to your foot to hold your ankle in position and reduce excessive motion of the joint. Adjustable wraps can also help to support the ankle and enable you to vary the amount of compression as needed. They also retain heat which helps to reduce inflammation and improve mobility. Anti-inflammatories and cortisone injections may be prescribed to help with pain and inflammation.

If the above measures do not provide sufficient relief, surgery may be necessary.

Fractured/Broken Ankle
Broken AnkleAn ankle fracture usually refers to a break in the tibia or the fibula. The tibia, also called the shin bone, is the larger, weight-bearing bone of the lower leg. It carries about 90% of the weight transferred through the leg. The remaining 10% is carried by the smaller fibula bone on the outside of the leg.

The tibia and the fibula wrap around the talus to form the joint. The bony bumps on either side of the ankle are called the medial malleolus (the end of the tibia) and the lateral malleolus (the end of the fibula). The ends of these bones form a cup for the talus to sit within.

There are many different types of fractures and breaks of the ankle, and each one must be treated individually. If you suspect you may have an fracture or could have broken your ankle, you should go to Accident and Emergency as soon as possible.

Common symptoms of a fracture include pain on touch, swelling and bruising, and you probably won't be able to put any weight on the affected leg.

Treatment of Fractured/Broken Ankle
Treatment will vary according to the nature of the fracture or break. An X-Ray will show how severe the injury is and help to determine how it should be treated.

Generally a splint will be worn for a couple of days before a cast is fitted. This is to allow for continued swelling.

It is vitally important to achieve and maintain alignment of a broken ankle so as to prevent future problems such as ankle arthritis. If the fracture is badly displaced it will need to be reset using local anaesthetic.

Crutches and rest are almost always necessary following an ankle fracture or break.

Your Orthopaedic Podiatrist will be able to recommend an individual treatment plan that best suits your needs.

Our Orthopaedic Podiatrist, Chris Parish, has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating ankle pain and ankle injury.

To discuss your ankle injury or to make an appointment, please contact us by phone or email, or send us a message

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