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5 Common Causes of Ankle Pain (and When to See a Doctor)

Triangle Region / 29 Oct 2021
EmergeOrtho
by EmergeOrtho
5 Common Causes of Ankle Pain (and When to See a Doctor)

Ankle pain and swelling often indicate a foot or ankle problem that needs to be addressed. Untreated foot and ankle issues can lead to more serious conditions and further restrict your mobility. Consulting with an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist can help alleviate pain and discomfort. It can also ensure the continuation of the active lifestyle you enjoy!

EmergeOrtho–Triangle Region’s board-certified foot and ankle orthopedic physicians are leading experts in diagnosing and treating a diverse range of foot and ankle injuries, conditions, and disorders. Do not remain in pain when you have local, sophisticated, and unparalleled subspecialty practice at your disposal!

Common Causes of Ankle Pain and Swelling

Ankle conditions are more common than you might think!

While many experience pain stemming from traumatic ankle injuries, others experience ankle pain and swelling without trauma. When ankle pain and swelling occur without an obvious reason, seek the expertise of an orthopedic specialist.

As leaders in subspecialty orthopedics, the EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region Foot and Ankle Team routinely addresses many ankle problems.

Our specialists are unparalleled experts, with the proficiency to skillfully diagnose and treat your ankle injury or condition. Our goal is to help you Emerge Stronger, healthier, and better. Many patients can safely return to the activities they enjoy after receiving treatment.

Doctor watching x-ray of sprained or broken ankle with pain on a digital tablet. Stethoscope and syringe on the desk

Take a look at five foot and ankle injuries, conditions, and disorders treated by fellowship-trained EmergeOrtho–Triangle Region Foot and Ankle Physicians:

Achilles Tendinitis

The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in your body, connecting the heel bone to the calf muscles. Intensive exercise, abrupt movements, overuse, and foot structure problems (such as flat feet) can trigger the development of Achilles tendinitis. In addition to ankle pain and swelling, Achilles tendinitis can produce symptoms of tenderness and pain that worsen with activity. Your orthopedic physician will likely address Achilles tendinitis with non-surgical treatment approaches. To avoid Achilles tendinitis, athletes (especially runners) must warm-up before exercise, wear the correct type of shoes, and use correct posture (running technique) while engaged in sporting activities.

Torn or Ruptured Achilles

Unlike Achilles tendinitis, where the Achilles tendon becomes inflamed, a torn or ruptured Achilles tendon may make mobility very difficult. When an Achilles rupture occurs, patients often hear an audible popping sound. Additional symptoms include pain, stiffness, restricted mobility, and swelling in the back of the ankle. A ruptured Achilles tendon may even require surgical intervention to heal properly.

Ankle Arthritis

Did you know that upwards of two million Americans have ankle arthritis? Although there are multiple types of arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and posttraumatic arthritis most commonly affect the ankle. Patients with ankle arthritis can experience pain, stiffness, restricted mobility, and swelling in the back of the ankle. There are several conservative treatment methods available to help reduce symptoms associated with ankle arthritis which include physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. Surgical options for ankle arthritis also exist when non-surgical options no longer help.

Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are often the result of a sports-related injury. However, an awkward twist of the ankle or misstep can also cause a sprain. Ankle sprains are diagnosed in degrees: first, second, and third-degree. All three degrees of sprains can produce severe ankle pain and swelling, but degrees one and two can often be treated conservatively. Still, chronic sprains and ankle instability can sometimes develop and can be a source of significant functional limitations. Many “sprains” are only part of the picture and can be part of a more complicated and even subtle injury pattern. Try not to fall into the common trap of thinking, “It’s just a sprain!”

Broken Ankle

A fractured ankle, caused by damage to the ankle bones, can be extremely painful and is. Sports-related impacts, unexpected falls, and overuse are among the most common reasons for a broken ankle. The severity of the break will determine the appropriate treatment. Some fractures can heal through conservative methods, while more significant injuries may require surgical intervention.

When to See a Doctor for Ankle Pain

If you suspect you may have any of the previously mentioned ankle conditions, seek medical attention. Untreated symptoms may worsen and lead to additional ankle problems.

Additional symptoms to indicate it is time to schedule a foot and ankle orthopedic consultation include:

  • Pain in any part of the foot or ankle
  • Ankle pain when walking
  • Tenderness and swelling in the foot and/or ankle
  • Pain that lasts for more than two weeks
  • Stiffness that limits your range of motion
  • Pain that worsens with prolonged periods of rest
  • Pain even when weight is not placed on your foot or ankle
  • Foot deformities

No matter what is causing ankle pain, swelling, and other uncomfortable symptoms, EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region is here to help you recover. Our Foot and Ankle Team work together to create personalized, safe, and effective treatment plans.

To learn more, self-schedule an appointment now. Or, call us any time at (919) 220-5255.

Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.

As our patient, you will benefit from a full range of orthopedic services, specialties and technologies, including physical and occupational therapy, advanced imaging services, and urgent care walk-in services providing immediate diagnosis and treatment for urgent orthopedic conditions.

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