Every year, more than 1 million Americans visit the emergency room as the result of an ankle-related injury. If you’re suffering from ankle pain and conservative methods of care aren’t easing your symptoms, it’s time to work with a foot and ankle specialist that you can trust. Matthew McCabe, MS, DPM, at Water Oak Foot and Ankle Surgery, located in Mansfield, Texas, regularly diagnoses and treats ankle pain. Call the office or click the online booking tool to make an appointment.
Ankle pain often develops as a result of a sports or work-related injury, but it can occur due to more mundane activities as well. For example, if you roll, twist, or step down on your ankle in an awkward way, you might experience a sprain or strain. On the other hand, if you drop something on your leg like a barbell or bowling ball, you might suffer an ankle fracture.
A series of strong fibrous ligaments surround your ankle joint. If you roll or twist your ankle and overextend these ligaments, small tears form and become inflamed. This process causes swelling, bruising, and general discomfort or a sprain. Ankle sprains affect people of all ages, from children to adults, but they’re especially common in men between the ages of 15-24 and women who are 30 or older. An Ankle sprain is the most common ankle injury.
A strain occurs as a result of damage to the muscles and tendons in your ankles. Your tendons or muscles might become inflamed as a result of overuse or trauma, or you might experience an acute tear from direct contact or sudden force. Ankle pain caused by strains typically runs up your legs and into your lower back.
Tendon tears often occur in association with sprains or strains. There are several tendons that cross the ankle joint and act to stabilize our foot and ankle. The tendons can sustain injury during a sprain. This will often lead to a tendon tear or tendonitis.
Three bones connect in your ankle: the tibia, fibula, and talus. Ligaments surround and support these bones, but fractures, or breaks, can occur. Ankle pain caused by a fracture is usually dull and achy. Additionally, it is not uncommon to experience a small fracture of the heel bone during an ankle sprain or inversion injury.
Impingement syndrome is attributed to a variety of causes but it is very common in athletes of all types. It can occur anywhere in the ankle but most commonly occurs to the anterolateral aspect of the ankle joint. The ankle pain is caused by the impingement or pinching of tissue with in the ankle joint. This will cause pain during activity and when the foot and ankle in motion either when weight bearing or non-weight bearing.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent ankle pain entirely, but there’s plenty you can do to lower your risk. Dr. McCabe at Water Oak Foot and Ankle Surgery recommends:
You can also lower your risk of ankle pain by listening to your body and avoiding exercise if you’re tired or recovering from an injury.
Dr. McCabe diagnoses ankle pain by performing an exam, reviewing your medical history, and asking about your symptoms. He might also order a series of X-rays to get a closer look at the bones in your ankles and feet.
Whenever possible, Dr. McCabe recommends conservative measures of treatment to relieve ankle pain. If your ankle pain is mild, he might recommend rest, ice and heat therapy, or custom orthotics. For pain that’s moderate, he might recommend physical therapy or a series of at-home exercises. If your pain persists for weeks or even months and interferes with your ability to work or play, surgical intervention may be necessary. It is not uncommon to have to perform minimally invasive surgery such as ankle arthroscopy to treat your ankle pain. Dr. McCabe has extensive training in surgically treating ankle pain with arthroscopy and other minimally invasive procedures.
To learn more about the treatment options for ankle pain, make an appointment at Water Oak Foot and Ankle Surgery today. Call the office or click the online scheduling tool.
For more information on ankle pain from impingement, please see Dr. McCabe’s publication: