Ankle pain refers to any type of pain or discomfort in the ankles that often makes walking and even sitting down or squatting tough. Ankle pain is caused by a number of different conditions that include sprains, arthritis, gout or nerve damage which not only results in a lot of pain but also limits mobility. The most common reason behind ankle pain is sprain which is a treatable condition depending on its severity and the type of injury that caused it.
Research says that ankle sprain is the most common causes of pain in ankle and makes up about 85% of all ankle injuries. A sprain occurs when the ligaments are overstretched or they tear up due to jerk or sudden movements. Most of these sprains are lateral as they occur when the foot rolls, causing the outside ankle to twist towards the ground and this action stretches or tears the ligaments, causing sharp pain and discomfort. In most of the cases, the sprained ankle remains swelled and bruised for 7 to 14 days but it might take a few months for the injury to heal completely and for ankle to regain full strength.
Whether you suffer from ankle pain as a result of some injury or you suffer from arthritis, there are various means to ease the pain and increase mobility. Discussed here are some of the tried as well as most effective means of managing ankle pain:
The PRICE Principle
PRICE is the immediate self-care for ankle pain and prevents complications, giving you a chance to sit back and relax. Protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation play a key role in getting rid of the pain and swelling that is caused by ankle sprain it the best way to reduce its impact. Protection is important because you don’t want to cause any further injury to the already affected ankle and using a sling, splint, or brace is a good way to protect the ankle till you get medical treatment.
Rest is very important and you must avoid activities that put a strain on ankle and cause further pain. You can use cane or crutches if needed and indulge in light activities like swimming that can relief ankle pain and promote healing. Icing the affected area also helps in keeping the inflammation and swelling down and will numb the painful nerves. It is essential to apply an ice pack for about 20 minutes to the ankle so that it can sooth the painful area and offer relief. Doing this three to five times a day for three days after the injury will render desired results.
Compressing the ankle with an elastic bandage is also a good idea as it will keep the nerves and swelling in control. However, it is important to make sure that you do not wrap the bandage so tight that it numbs the ankles and the fingers begin to turn blue as it will only lead to more pain and discomfort. Elevating the affected foot is also a good idea; lift it above your heart on a stack of pillows or other type of support structure and it will keep the blood from rushing to the lower parts of the foot and relieve the swelling.
Pain Relieving Medication
Taking over the counter pain relieving medication can help to control the pain and swelling caused by ankle injury or sprain. Pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen, sodium or acetaminophen are highly effective in these conditions. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium also help to reduce inflammation. However, it is important to know that these medications can only be taken for two or three weeks and if you still suffer from pain or inflammation, it is best to seek medical help and consult an ankle doctor.
Go For Analgesics
Analgesics are common medications that offer relief from ankle pain that results from arthritis, sprains, or other injuries. You can either take an analgesic orally or apply it to seek relief. There are a number of over-the-counter topical analgesics available in the pharmacy easily but you must remember that they will only address pain and not reduce swelling. You can ask the doctor to prescribe some stronger analgesic if your ankle pain is due to arthritis.
Corticosteroids are the only option for managing ankle pain and inflammation which results from ankle arthritis. It can either be taken orally or in form of injection and it helps to reduce pain and inflammation very quickly. It is important to know that corticosteroids should be not used for acute injuries like sprains as they impair the healing process and have numerous side effects such as high blood pressure, glaucoma, cataracts, headache, weight gain and, ulcers among others.
Visiting a physical therapist is a great idea as it can help to stretch and strengthen the ankle and get rid of pain and inflammation that results from stiffness. Make sure to visit a licensed and expert therapist who can check out the condition of your ankle and prescribe exercises that will help to develop stronger muscles and ligaments and work for better mobility.
With these top ways to manage ankle pain of all types, you can look forward to lasting relief and enjoy life to the fullest.