When ankle pain is a part of your daily life, it can limit what you have the ability to do. It can slow you down if the pain is minor or stop you entirely if the pain is acute. Having to live with pain is not a good way to live for anyone. However, when it is something like ankle pain that can often be resolved, it makes it even harder to justify. Here at Freedom Health Centers, we understand what living in pain is like. That is why we spend so much time and energy helping people get past their pain and get back to their lives.
Where Does Ankle Pain Originate for Most People?
The most common reason people struggle from ankle pain is some type of injury. Some people trip and twist their ankle, while others simply step the wrong way and their ankle pays the price. It can be any type of injury or trauma to the ankle, but that pain can be very slow to heal. Your pain may stem from something like a sprain or a strain of the ankle, a fracture or a break of the joint itself, or other similar injury.
Other people struggle with pain from being overweight. Your ankles take a lot of abuse just with daily use. They have to lift us as we stand, climb stairs, walk and jog around, and just go about our daily routines. If we have excess weight, this can make it harder for our ankles to do their jobs effectively.
Some people have physical ailments that can lead to ankle pain. One of the most common ailments which can lead to painful joints, including ankles, is arthritis. This causes a lot of inflammation in the joints, making it harder for them to move without pain. Some types of arthritis can even cause the joints to become malformed, which can lead to excruciating pain and mobility issues. This is common with rheumatoid arthritis.
There are many structures within the ankle joint. Any one of them could lead to pain if it is not used or situated properly. This can include problems like a stretched ligament or tendon, or even a pinched nerve. These issues need time and expertise to heal from, and often do not heal properly when ignored or left to heal on their own.
Can You Manage Your Ankle Pain at Home?
When the pain in your ankle is minor, it is often tempting to try and treat the pain at home. This can include trying to alternate between a heating pad and an ice pack, and over the counter medications. These can help reduce inflammation and help the swelling within the joint decrease. That will give you some pain relief. For some people, that is all they need to help get rid of their ankle pain. However, for most, this is not going to bring about enough relief to go on with their day.
You can also try resting with your ankle elevated, ideally above the level of your heart. This can decrease swelling, which can help reduce pain as well. However, when you put your ankle back down, the swelling and subsequent pain is likely to return. Another option to help reduce your ankle pain is to put a brace on your ankle. This is ideal for times where you have to be up, walking around, and cannot rest. You should have a brace on for any activities that could cause ankle instability. It can help hold your ankle in place, and bring about a lot of pain relief when you need to be up and moving.
What Options Do You Have if What You Try at Home Does Not Relieve Your Ankle Pain?
Some types of ankle pain are not going to respond well to the different at-home relief options. The pain is from something that actually needs to heal, which means you will be in pain until the healing occurs. The best option for something like this is to start off with physical therapy. When you come in for physical therapy, you get to work with someone that knows how to manipulate your joint into moving the right way. Times where your ankle may have moved the wrong way become far less likely to happen as you progress through your therapy.
Another option you have for ankle pain treatment is getting a chiropractic adjustment. Just because you may only associate a chiropractor with your back, does not mean they are unable to help with other types of pain. When your pain stems from a pinched nerve, they can often put the components of your ankle back into alignment, relieving pressure from the nerve. This can bring about a lot of relief for most people.
Can Medication or Surgery Help with Your Ankle Pain?
In some instances, medication or surgery are the ideal solution. If you have a fracture or a break within the ankle, you will likely need surgery to correct the problem. However, if you have a sprain, strain, infection, or pulled component within the ankle, surgery may not give you any relief. In fact, it could leave you in more pain than when you started. Plus, you then have to deal with the pain and time from recovery. Medication is something your body may rely on within a short amount of time. This means that when you try and stop using it, you may not be able to. Plus, you may not feel if you are doing something that could damage your ankle worse, since it would be numb.
The best approach is to wait to try surgery and prescription medication until all other treatment options have been exhausted. Here at Freedom Health Centers, we have found that a combination approach tends to work best for those who come to us in pain. We figure out what options treat their ankle pain, then we combine them. For example, if you get relief from both physical therapy and chiropractic manipulation, we can set up a treatment plan for you that incorporates both. That way, you get the best options for relief from both methods at the same time.