Whether you were a childhood netball player, chronic ankle-sprain-er, or have low bone-density, ankle pain is a common issue for many people, and it can cause physical discomfort that makes it hard to enjoy everyday activities.

Ankle pain can refer to a broad spectrum of pain and discomfort, and there are many reasons you might experience it, but it’s most often caused by an injury or an underlying medical condition. The good news is, most cases of ankle pain are short term and will heal with some simple self-care – but we’ve put together some information on the most common causes of ankle pain and how a ProMed podiatrist can help you!

Have you sprained your ankle? 

A common ankle injury that most people are familiar with is an ankle sprain. This injury can happen to anyone, whether you took the wrong step on your commute to work or landed poorly on the playing field. It comes from damage to the ligaments in your ankle and is often accompanied by swelling and inflammation. At first glance, a sprain may seem insignificant and easily treatable with a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. However, there can sometimes be more to this injury than meets the eye. 

Ankle sprains are graded on a severity scale of Grade 1 (Mild) through to Grade 3 (Severe). Whether you need to be treated by a podiatrist will depend on this grade. 

A Grade 1 sprain will typically need a minimal treatment plan making it possible to return to activity within a few days. With help from the standard R.I.C.E. treatment (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) and strapping, you can bounce back quickly. A Grade 2 sprain is the partial tearing of a ligament in the ankle. A podiatrist’s treatment plan for a Grade 2 strain often involves more rehabilitation and strengthening of the ankle and surrounding muscles. 

A Grade 3 sprain is the complete tear of the ankle ligament; this injury may require a form of immobilisation (moon boot or cast) or surgery depending on the severity.

Think arthritis might be the issue? 

Arthritis is a term used to describe over 100 various medical conditions affecting the joints in your body. With 1 in 6 Australians suffering from some form of arthritis, it is a leading cause of pain and disability. Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are the two most common arthritis conditions that cause ankle pain. Our ProMed Podiatrists can help people living with arthritis through early intervention, which is the most effective way to reduce pain and potential deformity. We also provide information to arthritis patients on how to exercise effectively and safely. 

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction

While Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD) may sound irregular, it is one of the most common causes of ankle pain, occurring when the posterior tibial tendon is inflamed or torn. As a result, the tendon may not be able to support the arch of the foot, resulting in flatfoot.  

Orthotics, such as shoe inserts and arch supports, can be provided by our podiatrists as an early treatment to prevent the movement between the midfoot and the hindfoot. This decrease in movement aims to reduce the inflammation linked to PTTD. If the pain persists, a podiatrist can treat PTTD by immobilising the ankle with a cast or moon boot. This more cumbersome treatment is the best pathway to ensure the tendon is sufficiently rested. In some cases of advanced PTTD, where the foot’s arch has completely collapsed, reconstructive surgery on the posterior tibial tendon may be conducted. 

A podiatrist can treat all sorts of ankle pain:

There are many more sources of ankle pain that our friendly team of podiatrists will be able to assist with providing treatment and / or advice.

  • Stress fractures and fractures;
  • Pre and post-operative cases;
  • Alignment issues;
  • Achilles tendinopathy;
  • General ankle pain

At ProMed Podiatry, we believe that proper rehabilitation involves more than just reducing pain; it involves retraining and strengthening muscles to prevent future injury. Call us today at (07) 5522 1230 or book an appointment online!

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