How To Treat Ankle Pain
Have you ever come across ankle pain? Yes, even the thought of it makes you feel bad. This article takes you through the anatomy of ankle and how ankle pain is caused.
Your ankle is a “hinged” joint capable of moving the foot in two primary directions: away from the body (plantar flexion) and toward the body (dorsiflexion). Its anatomy is formed by the meeting of three bones.
- The end of the shinbone of the leg (tibia) and a small bone in the leg (fibula) meet a large bone in the foot, called the talus, to form the ankle.
- The end of the shinbone (tibia) forms the inner portion of the ankle, while the end of the fibula forms the outer portion of the ankle.
- The hard, bony knobs on each side of the ankle are called the malleoli. These provide stability to the ankle joints, which function as weight-bearing joints for the body during standing and walking.
- Ligaments on each side of the ankle also provide stability by tightly strapping the outside of the ankle (lateral malleolus) with the lateral collateral ligaments and the inner portion of the ankle (medial malleolus) with the medial collateral ligaments.
- The ankle joint is surrounded by a fibrous joint capsule. Tendons that attach the large muscles of the leg to the foot wrap around the ankle both from the front and behind.
- The large tendon (Achilles tendon) of the calf muscle passes behind the ankle and attaches at the back of the heel. A large tendon of the leg muscle (posterior tibial tendon) passes behind the medial malleolus. The peroneal tendon passes behind the lateral malleolus to attach into the foot.
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How Ankle Pain is Caused?
Both ankle pain and ankle tendinitis can be caused by injuries, such as sprains and strains from sports. There are diseases and conditions that may result in ankle pain, for example rheumatoid arthritis or gout are major causes of ankle pain.
Ankle sprains are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries. Sprains are injuries to the ligaments of the ankle, causing them to partially or completely tear as a result of sudden stretching.
According to Family Wellness Clinic, acute ankle sprains are initially treated with ice, rest, and limiting the amount of walking and weight-bearing on the injured ankle. The leg can be elevated to reduce swelling, and crutches are often recommended to avoid further trauma to the injured ligaments. Anti-inflammatory medications can be given to reduce local inflammation. Physical therapy programs are part of the rehabilitation process, incorporating strengthening exercises of the lower leg muscles.
Broken ankles (fractures) can accompany ankle sprains or occur without sprains. Fractures are repaired with casting to immobilize the bone for healing. Depending on the severity, fractures can require orthopedic casting, or surgical procedures including pinning, and open repair of the fractured bone.
With severe ankle injury, such as from a motor vehicle accident, dislocation of the ankle joint can occur. Ankle dislocation is a serious injury and generally requires a surgical repair. A dislocated ankle occurs when there is complete damage and disruption of the ligaments that support the ankle joint.