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Ankle joint helps to balance and stabilize the body. But it is also the most frequently injured joint in the body. It’s made up of bones that are supported with muscles and ligaments. Any damage to these structures can cause ankle ailments.

Causes of Ankle Ailments

Ankle disorders can occur due to variety of reasons including:

  • Forceful running, jumping etc.
  • Overuse of the joint may cause excessive wear and tear of the joint leading to disorders like osteoarthritis
  • Twisting or rotating the ankle beyond the normal range of motion
  • Tripping or falling on ankle from height
  • Landing on the foot with increased force
  • Lack of muscles conditioning of the leg and foot
  • Excessive strain on the ankle
  • Untreated flat feet
  • Different types of arthritis (inflammation of joints and tissues) like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis etc.

Symptoms of Ankle Ailments

The symptoms of ankle ailments depend upon the disorder and its extent (acute or chronic), But in majority of the cases, patient complains of the following problems associated with the ankle joint:

  • Pain in the ankle joint with or without movement
  • Severe pain on putting weight on the affected ankle
  • Inability to put any weight on the ankle
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Problems moving the ankle
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Stiffness in the joint
  • Warmth in the joint
  • Limping
  • Restricted physical activity
  • Bruising
  • Loud popping sounds at the back of the heel

These are just common symptoms but patient may have other symptoms too that should not be ignored as ankle joint is one of the most important joint of our body. So anything that is not normal or is causing discomfort should be discussed with the doctor and treated accordingly.

Diagnosis of Ankle Ailments

The diagnosis of ankle ailments starts with a complete medical history of the patient. It is also required to consider family history of joint pains as some of these disorders run in families. This is followed by thorough physical examination of the joint to find any visible signs and assess its level of activity. In addition to these following diagnostic tests are almost always required to conclude the disorder:

  • X ray
  • Bone scan
  • CAT scan
  • MRI
  • Arthroscopy
  • Biopsy

Treatment of Ankle Ailments

Treatment of ankle problems specifically depends upon the cause and extent of disorder. It is required to first evaluate the damage that has already occurred and simultaneously start the treatment that would prevent further damage. Treatment may include some of the following:

  • Medication: Oral or injectable medicines are given to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation e.g. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Physical therapy: Various types of exercises and activities are advised to the patient so as to improve the joint movement and strength.
  • Compression bandage: Wearing compression bandages or casts to immobilize the ankle.
  • Cortisone (steroid) injections: These are given to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Surgery: In cases of severely damaged ankle joint that cannot be managed by any of the conservative ways, surgery can prove to be beneficial for the patient.