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Ankle Pain

The many causes of Ankle Pain:

Ankle pain

Many structures may be responsible for ankle pain

There are multiple reasons for ankles to become painful. The ankle joint is designed to move in only one direction, plantarflexion (foot moves down – like pressing an accelerator) and dorsiflexion ( foot moves up). The joint has a strong, fibrous network of ligaments that hold the bones rigidly together and don’t allow any other movements to occur. Injuries that stretch or break these ligaments can cause significant damage to occur to the joint over time and bones move against each other in ways that should not be allowed. We will talk more about the ankle joint after having a brief look at other things in the area that might be considered to be ankle pain.

The joint below the ankle joint is called the subtalar joint and this is where any tilting or circling movements occur. The subtalar joint is also quite prone to injury and pain here will usually be described by the sufferer as ‘ankle pain’. One of the first things to determine when treating ankle area pain is which structure is affected. If the pain is actually in the subtalar joint, this often responds very well to traditional podiatry treatments such as orthotic devices. Other treatments such as prolotherapy to stimulate repair or corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation are offered by our clinic.

Outside of the actual bony ankle joint are several other structures that cause ankle area pain. There are long tendons passing behind each of the ankle bones and over the front of the ankle. The Achilles’ Tendon is a common cause of pain as it runs down the back of the lower leg and into the heel bone. Problems with tendons are usually caused by an overuse injury related to poor foot function. Again, a podiatrist should be your first port of call for these issues.

Inside the joint, it is possible to chip the cartilage that covers the bones. This is called an osteochondral defect. This is usually attended to by an Orthopaedic Surgeon.

Ankle pain bones

The ligaments of the ankle joint

One of the most common injuries to the ankle is a sprain causing ligament damage. This happens when the joint is forcefully moved in a direction that the ligaments should restrict. Ligament sprains can be mild, severe or involve the complete rupture of the ligament. Treatment will depend on the location and severity of the damage. Early intervention is best as a partially torn ligament can heal most efficiently if supported in a shortened position for around 10 weeks. We offer prolotherapy injections to stimulate healing of mild to moderate issues, though sometimes surgery is indicated if the supporting structures are torn and the ankle becomes unstable.

In summary, at Walk Without Pain, we can offer the following types of ankle pain treatment:

  • Shockwave therapy
  • Mobilisation
  • Prolotherapy injections
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Diagnostic ultrasound
  • Diagnostic injections
  • Orthotics
  • Biomechanical interventions
  • Footwear advice
  • Referrals for Xray and Ultrasonography.
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