Ankle Pain

Ankle pain can be from many sources including but not limited to:

 

Stress fracture

A fracture that occurs typically from an overuse injury that results in a small hairline fracture. Pinpoint tenderness over a bone is characteristic of this injury.  It can happen in any bone in your foot or ankle and commonly occurs in the forefoot- the area between your midfoot and the ends of your toes. Stress fractures do not always show up on x-ray within 14 days of the injury.  Stress fractures typically require taking pressure off of your foot to heal for 6-8 weeks.

 

Fractures

Fractures can occur in any bone of the foot or ankle and frequently require offloading and occasionally surgical intervention.  Fractures of the foot often result in swelling, bruising and pain on direct pressure over the location of the bone. Fractures are distinguished from stress fractures by being larger and sometimes displaced.  Fractures can result in long-term arthritis in the joints surrounding the fractured bone and it is best to have these evaluated as early as possible. Both ankle fractures and foot fractures can be treated at Carolina Foot and ankle.

If you have any of these symptoms or think your suffering from a stress fracture or fracture give the Doctors at Carolina Foot and Ankle Associates a call as soon as possible as these injuries are time sensitive.  Both ankle fractures and foot fractures can be treated at Carolina Foot and ankle. If it is a weekend it would be best to seek care as early as possible at an urgent care or emergency room.

Both ankle fractures and foot fractures can be treated at Carolina Foot and ankle. If it is a weekend it would be best to seek care as early as possible at an urgent care or emergency room.

 

Sprains

Sprains are typically caused by twisting your foot or ankle and by overextending your toes during running or walking.  Sprains may result in bruising, swelling and pain during movement of your foot or when walking.  A sprain is when a ligament is either torn or injured.  Serious sprains may result in poor alignment of your joints that may need to be surgically corrected or reduced.  Sprains are typically treated conservatively with offloading and staying off of your feet.  It is important to have x-rays of your foot to ensure that the joints are in appropriate alignment.  Early treatment of these injuries is recommended.

 

Arthritis

Arthritis is a common cause of joint pain which may result from a prior injury or long-term damage to the joints.  It can occur in any joint in the foot or ankle.  The cartilage in the joints can get eroded away resulting in bone on bone movement which results in pain with motion of the joint.  Occasionally small pieces of bone can get stuck in the joint.  There are many treatments for arthritis that may result in palliative relief.  Shoe inserts can decrease the movement of the affected joint. Injections can decrease inflammation in the joint.  Oral medications like NSAIDS (ibuprofen) can also help, but this is not recommended for long-term use.  Your doctor should be consulted before starting NSAIDS.  The affected joint can also be surgically corrected to either reduce the grinding of the bone on bone motion or eliminate the joint with a fusion. 

Arthritis in the ankle can also be associated with cysts in the joint, which can be conservatively or surgically corrected.

 

Swelling

Swelling in the ankles is very common and can result from kidney disease, heart diseases such as congestive heart failure, high salt intake, or blood flow problems.  There are many potential causes for edema in the legs.  Painful edema and edema that causes wounds can often be decreased and controlled with compression stockings.  Edema coming from the veins can also result in varicose veins and should be treated to prevent worsening.  This is treated with a multidisciplinary approach with your other doctors to determine the source.  Edema can also result from prior surgery or trauma. 

 

Tarsal tunnel syndrome

This occurs when the nerve that runs into the bottom of the foot is pinched or compressed on the inside of your foot.  This heel pain is also associated with a shooting stinging type of pain that may radiate through your foot or up your leg. This is also typically located at the inside of your foot.  Stretching your calf muscles may help with this, but it often requires further treatment in the office which may include injections.

 

Peroneal tendonitis/tears/ruptures

The peroneal tendons are two tendons that enter the foot from the outside of the leg.  Pain is typically located behind the bump on the outside of your ankle or on the bump on the outside middle location of your foot.  Treatment of this typically requires bracing or offloading with a boot or cast.  If there is a tear in the tendon or rupture of the tendon it may require surgical intervention.

 

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

This is the tendon responsible for holding up your arch and is located on the bump on the inside of your foot and runs up the inside of your leg.  Pain will typically occur along the course of the tendon at its insertion in the bump and behind the bump of bone on the inside of your ankle.  This often requires bracing, offloading, or inserts.

 

Tumors/cancers/cysts/masses

Masses can occur in bone or soft tissue.  If a mass on your foot or ankle is painful it should be evaluated early.  Painful masses in the bones can also occur.  Cancers can also occur and can be metastasized to the bones of your foot or cancers can originate in the foot locally.  Most masses in the foot are benign and can be treated.  Masses that have fluid in them can be drained and may resolve.  Biopsies and advanced studies like CT scans and MRI are sometimes required to evaluate masses in the foot or ankle further. Nonpainful masses can also be concerning, especially if they are growing.  If you believe you have a mass in your foot, you should present for evaluation early.

 

Return to Common Conditions

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If you are feeling ill, please call your primary care physician, or other healthcare provider. In the case of an emergency, please go to the nearest hospital.

 

 

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