The ankle is particularly vulnerable to injury because of the complexity of its structure and the weight and pressure placed on it every day. Ankle pain may therefore affect anyone of any age; however, it is most common in athletes and active men under the age of 24 and in women over 30.
Pain in the lower legs, feet, and ankles can affect our mobility and may change our usual daily routines. Depending on the reason, home treatments, medicine, and in some cases, surgery is available to alleviate the pain.
What Are the Treatments for Ankle Pain?
Let’s take a look at some of the main treatment options for different types of ankle pain:
RICE is an acronym for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Rest your ankle if you start to feel pain. If you must get up and walk, opt to use crutches, a cane, or a walker to avoid putting too much pressure on the ankle. However, as much as possible, avoid doing activities that require putting pressure on your feet.
Put an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables on your ankle, and keep it there for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep doing this three times a day. Remember to wrap the ice bag or frozen food bag in a cloth or towel so it does not injure your skin.
If there is swelling in your ankles, wrap a compression bandage around it or wear a compression stocking in order to help reduce the swelling. Compression treatment also provides extra support to an injured ankle to keep it stable.
You can also elevate your foot, ideally above your heart level when lying down. Elevating your ankle can also help reduce the swelling, because the gravity helps to pull bodily fluids away from the inflamed or injured ankle area back toward the heart.
Depending on the cause of your ankle pain, you can take over-the-counter medicines or prescription drugs to alleviate the pain and the swelling. These can include the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) include more than a dozen different types of medicines that you can buy over the counter. NSAIDs ease arthritis, general pain, and inflammation.
- These are quick-acting drugs that come in oral, topical, inhaled, or injected form. One of the most effective corticosteroids for ankle pain is injected directly into the ankle by your doctor. They are used to control the inflammation in the affected area.
- These are suitable for those who cannot take NSAIDs because of allergies or stomach problems. Analgesics are used to relieve pain caused by arthritis, ankle sprains and fractures, and other injuries. They differ from NSAIDs because they only alleviate pain and do not treat the inflammation.
- Gout medications. Although uncommon, some ankle pains are due to gout. These drugs decrease the uric acid levels in the blood, thereby preventing future cases of joint pain and inflammation.
If you have a fractured ankle or are experiencing severe recurring pain in your ankles that does not subside with rest or medication, your doctor may suggest surgery.
- Fracture Repair. Fractured bones in the ankle are the most common reason for ankle surgery. Depending on the severity of the fracture, metal plates and screws may be used to hold the bone pieces together while they heal.
- Ankle Arthroscopy. This procedure is minimally invasive and is often performed to remove fragments of cartilage or bone lodged in the joint spaces. It may be also be done to evaluate and repair a damaged ligament in the ankle.
- Ankle Fusion. This procedure is for when advanced arthritis is the cause of your ankle pain. The surgeon will remove the joint surfaces that are affected by arthritis, and then the bones are joined with plates and screws until they fuse together as one bone.
- Ankle Replacement. For severe cases of ankle arthritis, this procedure becomes an option. The surgeon will remove the entire ankle joint and will replace it with an artificial (prosthetic) joint.
Ankle Pain Treatment in Cincinnati
Ankle pain is manageable with care by an experienced podiatrist. Our podiatrists and foot surgeons at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care use state-of-the-art technology in diagnosing and treating your ankle problems.
We have 18 podiatry offices conveniently located across the Cincinnati area. You may also skip the phone lines and book an appointment online. Place your ankles in our hands, and let us help you with your pain!