Ankle pain can affect your mobility by making it uncomfortable and difficult to stand or walk. A common cause of ankle pain is a sprain, but several other factors can lead to ankle pain as well. You should not ignore ankle pain. The ankle might not heal properly without treatment, which could lead to chronic pain and instability. Dr. Dallin Greene and Dr. Nathan Judd, the skilled foot doctors at Big Sky Foot and Ankle Institute in Bozeman, Anaconda, and Butte, MT, can diagnose the cause of your ankle pain and develop a treatment plan to alleviate pain and help your ankle heal.
Causes of Ankle Pain
Ankle pain can be due to a number of causes, such as an old injury that never healed properly. It is important to see one of the knowledgeable foot doctors at our office in Bozeman for an accurate diagnosis of the cause so you can receive the right treatment to help your ankle heal. Some common causes of ankle pain include:
- Sprains or fractures
- Arthritis or osteoarthritis
- Achilles tendon injury
- Peroneal tendon injury
- Talar dome lesion
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
- Ankle instability
Ankle pain can be associated with many different symptoms, including tenderness, swelling, stiffness, and instability. Without treatment, these symptoms can become worse and lead to additional foot problems. Some ankle injuries, such as a sprain, can be treated by resting, icing, and elevating the foot. Immobilization with a cast or brace, can also be helpful. Anti-inflammatory medications can alleviate pain and swelling.
Another treatment option is physical therapy, which can strengthen the ankle joint, improve mobility, and reduce instability. Severe ankle injuries or chronic pain are sometimes best treated through surgery. Our experienced podiatrists can recommend a specific treatment plan for you based on the cause and severity of your ankle injury, as well as other factors.
Don’t ignore your ankle pain. Without treatment, the pain could worsen and your ankle might not heal properly. Dr. Greene or Dr. Judd can help. To schedule an appointment with one of our foot doctors, call Big Sky Foot and Ankle Institute in Bozeman, MT, at (406) 782-2278. We have office locations in Butte and Anaconda, as well. Call (406) 782-2278.
- Wash feet at least once a day with soap and warm water. Make sure that you dry your feet thoroughly after.
- Make sure to dry feet as soon as possible after dealing with sweaty or perspiring feet.
- Choose socks made from materials that wick away sweat and improve ventilation.
- Apply deodorizing sprays or powders in shoes every day after wear, and make sure to wait 24 hours before wearing the same shoes again.
Certain shoes can leave you prone to cracked heels and dry skin due to friction from wearing loose-fitted shoes. People who wear sandals and other open-heeled shoes are more at risk for developing cracked heels. Instead, opt for closed-heeled shoes that fit properly and provide support.
If you are overweight, you may be surprised to discover that this could be contributing to your dry, cracked heels. This is because your feet take on all of your weight while standing, walking, and running. By safely dropping that excess weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise you can alleviate some of the pressure placed on your heels to reduce the risk of cracking.
While we know just how luxurious it feels to stand in a steaming hot shower, especially during the winter months, this could be contributing to dry skin on your feet and cracked heels. If this is something you deal with regularly you may look at your current bathing or showering ritual to see if that could be the culprit. Simply use warm and not hot water, which can strip the skin of the oils it needs to stay moist.
You should moisturize your feet every day to prevent dry skin from happening in the first place. Moisturizers that contain lactic acid, glycerin, or petroleum jelly can help to lock in moisture in your feet. Moisturize every time you get out of the shower and throughout the day, especially before going to bed. If you are prone to very dry, cracked feet, you may wish to moisturize and then wear socks to bed.
- Pain that occurs immediately after an injury or accident
- Pain that is directly above a bone
- Pain that is worse with movement
- Bruising and severe swelling
- A cracking sound at the moment of injury
- A visible deformity or bump
- Can’t put weight on the injured foot
The symptoms of a sprain are far less severe. You can often put weight on the injured foot with a sprain; however, you may notice some slight pain and stiffness. You may also have heard a popping sound at the moment of the injury with a sprain, while a broken bone often produces a cracking sound. The pain associated with a sprain will also be above soft tissue rather than bone. A podiatrist will perform an X-ray to be able to determine if you are dealing with a break or a sprain.
Rest is key to allowing an injury, particularly a fracture, to heal properly. Along with rest, your doctor may also recommend either an over-the-counter or prescription-strength pain reliever, depending on the severity of your fracture. Those with more moderate to severe fractures may require a special boot, brace, or splint. Those with more severe fractures may need to wear a cast and use crutches, so they can avoid putting any weight on the foot.
If possible, try to keep the blister intact. Do not try to pop or drain a blister that hasn’t popped on its own. It’s important not to put pressure on the blister, so avoid any shoes that may be too tight. If you’re going to put on shoes, make sure to apply a bandage (some band-aids are designed specifically for covering blisters) to the area first.
If the blister popped on its own, clean it with warm water soap (do not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the blister). Once the area is clean, apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream to the area and apply a bandage over the blister. These simple steps can prevent an infection from occurring.
You should only drain a blister if it’s very large, painful, or affects your ability to move. In this case, you should sterilize a needle with alcohol and then make a small hole in the blister to let it drain. You may need to carefully squeeze the blister to help it drain fully. Once the blister has drained, rinse out the area with soap and warm water before applying antibiotic cream to the area and placing a bandage over it.
You mustn’t keep the same bandage on your blister day in and day out. You should check the blister every day to make sure it isn’t infected. You should clean the area daily with soap and water and then reapply another bandage.
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