The 5 Most Common Ankle Conditions

common Ankle conditions

Your ankle is meant to help keep your body balanced. When it’s injured, it not only leaves you in pain but also interferes with your normal mobility. Horizon Foot and Ankle Institute is a team of professionals that can assist in diagnosing and treating your pain. Read on to find out the most common conditions of the ankle.

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis occurs when the Achilles tendon becomes infected. The Achilles tendon is a strip of tissue that aids in walking by raising your heel from the ground. It connects the calf muscle down the heel bone at the back of your leg.

Achilles Tendinitis is caused by a continuous activity that injures the tendon fibers. It’s often experienced in the morning immediately after getting up. The pain can be severe, or feel as if your leg is stiff. Some of the ways you can relieve the pain include

  • Physical therapy like stretching exercises
  • Resting your ankle
  • Using ankle stabilizers and shoe inserts.
  • Using night splints while sleeping
  • Taking pain killers
  • Placing ice on the inflamed Part

Achilles tendinitis is diagnosed by a doctor examining your foot and ankle to check the tendon’s movements and balance. The severity can be determined using x-rays or other imaging methods. This disorder is likely to lead to tendon decay or rapture of the tendon if left untreated.

Ankle Sprains and Fractures

Sprains are a common leg and lower back disorder. They occur when there is an injury resulting from extreme stretching ligaments that support the ankle. Sprains can be either small tears or total raptures of the tendons. They are treated using a bandage tightly wrapped around the ankle.

Ankle fractures happen when either a bone or several bones in your ankle break. Fractures are treated using a cast to stabilize the broken bone and prevent mobility during healing. Both sprains and fractures cause inflammation in the ankle. Some of the ways you can use to alleviate sprains and fractures pain are

  • Supporting the ankle
  • Applying an ice pack
  • Resting

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, usually caused by the wearing down of cartilage in the joints. The cartilage is the tissue at the end of your bones connecting the joints. It serves as a cushion to protect the bones during movement. When the cartilage degenerates, friction occurs between bones which lead to pain.

The most commonly affected part of the foot is the big toe but it can also affect the ankle. Symptoms usually feel worse in the morning immediately after getting up. They include redness, severe pain, difficulty moving your ankle, swelling around the joints, and stiffness.

Other causes of osteoarthritis are

  • Injuries such as sprain or fractures which can take time before developing into osteoarthritis.
  • Foot abnormalities; for instance, flat feet and high arches.

The doctor will examine your foot carefully for diagnosis, searching for joint swelling, reduced movement, and pain with mobility. The doctor may also do an X-ray to determine the severity.

Treatment and prevention measures include

  • Limiting straining the ankle
  • Wearing a brace
  • Physical therapy
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system cells misfire and attack healthy joints causing inflammation. It most commonly affects the ankle and hand joints. The symptoms are

  • Difficulty moving
  • Severe pain
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling

Rheumatoid arthritis causes the synovium to swell and generate excess fluid in the joints. This extra fluid, combined with an inflammatory response, leads to cartilage and joint bone damage. Your doctor will diagnose rheumatoid arthritis through a physical exam, blood tests, and X-rays.

Treatment and control measures include

  • Resting your ankle
  • Taking pain killers
  • Wearing a brace
  • Physical therapy
  • Weight loss
  • Avoiding heavy activities

Gout

Gout is another type of arthritis. It occurs when uric acid remains in the joints, forming crystals that accumulate in the joints. Uric acid is found in the blood and is produced as a byproduct of the breakdown of purines. These are naturally existing chemicals in our bodies and food. Gout may develop when your kidneys are excreting excess or having trouble producing a normal amount of uric acid.

Uric acid is temperature-sensitive and thus crystallizes at lower temperatures. The toe, being the furthest limb or appendage from your core, is one of the coldest parts of the body, and is therefore the most likely gout target. For this reason, pain in the big toe is usually the first sign following an injury. However, gout is also a common source of pain and bumps under the ankle skin.

Gout symptoms are redness, swelling, and heat over the affected joint. You are also likely to experience sudden intense pain in the middle of the night or morning when waking up. Doctors diagnose gout by asking about your medical history, and  assessing the affected joint, lab tests, and x-rays. Treatment and control measures include

  • Pain relief medications
  • Icing
  • Lots of fluid intake
  • Avoiding alcohol and high-purine foods
  • Resting
  • Elevating the foot

Visit a Foot and Ankle Institute

If you are worried about ankle inflammation, seek the advice of a podiatrist as soon as possible. At Horizon Foot and Ankle Institute, we offer comprehensive treatment for all ankle and arthritis concerns. Schedule an appointment now to learn how we can be of assistance in alleviating your pain.