Pain 101: Ankle Pain
What is Ankle Pain?
Ankle pain may come in many different forms and can be the result of a variety of different problems. Pain in the ankle can be extremely debilitating and severely limit one’s enjoyment of daily activities.
Types of Ankle Pain
An ankle sprain results when the ligaments of the ankle are either stretched too far or tear due to injury.
Achilles tendonitis/tendonosis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon. If not resolved, the condition may progress to a degeneration of the tendon in which the tendon loses its organized structure and is likely to develop microscopic tears.
Posterior Tibialis Tendon
The posterior tibialis tendon, located on the inside of the ankle, serves as one of the major supporting structures of the foot. Posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction (PTTD) is a condition caused by changes in the tendon and can result in pain in the inside of the ankle or foot, swelling, inward rolling of the ankle, or flattening of the foot.
Peroneal Tendon Pathology
The main function of the peroneal tendons are to stabilize the foot and outside of the ankle and protect it from sprains. Injuries most commonly occur in individuals who participate in sports that involve repetitive ankle cutting motions and can result in pain at the outside of the ankle, pain in the foot, swelling, or outward rolling of the ankle.
Ankle Arthritis typically refers to the wearing away of the joint surface which can cause pain in the ankle. It may result in deformity, loss of joint function, and decreased ability to walk.
Aches and pains in the front of your lower legs can be symptoms of shin splints which is a general term covering injury and/or overuse of the lower leg and surrounding tissues.
STEPS TO ANKLE PAIN
It is important when you are experiencing ankle pain to limit your activity and rest so that your ankle can heal.
Apply cold packs to your ankle to decrease pain and inflammation in the joints and muscles. To prevent damage to skin and surrounding tissue, cold packs should only be applied in 15 minute intervals.
If you don’t have increased pain with movement, stretching and increasing the range of motion of the ankle can be the first step in helping to loosen up muscles and joints and decrease the pain.
Physical therapy consists of hands on treatment to loosen muscles and joints, education on proper gait and movement to decrease pain, instruction on stretching and strengthening exercises to restore mobility and strength, and modalities such as electrical stimulation, cold/heat and ultrasound.
ANKLE PAIN EXERCISES
Following are a few exercises you can perform that may help alleviate pain. Please go to LIFE+ for more videos that may help you. Please consult your physician before trying these, and stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.