Ankle Pain Q & A
by Ernest S. Levi, DPM
What are the most common injuries that cause ankle pain?
- A sprained ankle. Sprains can occur when your foot accidentally twists or rolls in an unnatural position, causing one or more of the ligaments located on the outside of your ankle to stretch or tear. Ankle sprains are extremely common. In fact, an estimated 25,000 Americans suffer a sprained ankle every day. It is also one of the most common sports injuries. Once an ankle has been sprained, it is more susceptible to being sprained again.
- High ankle sprain. This occurs when the ligaments located above the ankle that connect the two bones of the lower leg (the tibia and the fibula) are stretched or torn. A high ankle sprain is significantly less common than a traditional ankle sprain. Ironically, a high ankle sprain generally does not cause as much swelling or bruising as a traditional sprain, yet takes significantly longer to heal (6 or 7 weeks compared to several days).
- Ankle fractures. These are any breaks in one or more of the three bones of the ankle. Ankle fractures generally take 6 to 8 weeks to heal.
- Achilles tendinitis. This is an injury caused by overuse of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone.
How can I prevent an ankle injury?
Dr. Levi offers the following tips to prevent ankle injuries:
- Warm up. Make sure to properly stretch muscles before participating in any sports activity.
- Wear proper footwear. Always wear appropriate footwear, specific to the sport you are participating in. When not participating in sports, proper-fitting footwear is also key. High heels, in particular, should be worn minimally and with caution, as they are responsible for numerous ankle injuries.
- Avoid uneven surfaces. Do not run on uneven surfaces.
What types of medical conditions cause ankle pain?
Several forms of arthritis can cause swelling, pain, and stiffness of the ankle. Gout is among the most painful types of arthritis that can affect the ankle, and often the joint of the big toe. Gout can cause your ankle to become hot, swollen, and intolerable to bearing weight.
Ernest Levi, DPM | 30 East 40th Street | Suite 401 | New York, NY 10016