What’s Causing Your Foot and Ankle Pain?
Do any of these sound familiar? Everything seemed fine just after your work out, right? Then, seemingly out of nowhere you experience ankle pain. Or, right in the middle of a good run, you feel a shooting pain. What could it be, and what’s the right treatment for your ankle pain?
The National Stem Cell Institute (NSI), a leading regenerative medicine clinic in the United States, sees thousands of foot and ankle pain patients yearly. Each person is unique, but there are always similarities regarding ankle pain that is worth noting.
So let’s begin with a few foot and ankle basics then delve into some of the most common reasons for the pain.
Foot and Ankle Pain Basics
Let’s start with the basics. The ankle is one of the body’s “hinged” joints. This hinging allows a wide range of motion. Usually, that’s a great thing. But when something goes wrong, the generous movement of this hinge joint can be the source of foot and ankle pain. On the other side of the spectrum, if something prevents full motion of the joint, once again the result can be ankle pain.
Foot and ankle pain can result from a number of injury types or diseases. These include:
A sprain is one of the most common injuries to the ankle. It’s a musculoskeletal injury that affects the ligaments. A sprain is when a ligament experiences a partial or full tear. Sprains are the result of the ligament being abruptly stretched. Ankle pain can be moderate to severe.
Ligament tears can occur in either the inner or outer areas of the joint. In some cases, both inner and outer areas can be injured. An ankle sprain is more likely to happen when there is muscular weakness or when an ankle has experienced a previous injury or injuries.
Typically, these injuries happen when an ankle is abruptly twisted, such as during a basketball game or tennis match.
A sprain can be caused by non-sports activities, too.
Most of us have experienced “turning an ankle” by stepping off an uneven surface. With sprains, ankle pain usually starts out as severe. But the level of ankle pain isn’t always a dependable marker of the degree of damage. A popping sensation may be part of the sprain symptoms, too. Swelling usually occurs directly over the area of ligament tear due to injured blood vessels leaking fluid.
Diagnosis of a sprain and the degree of ligament tear requires a physical exam by a medical professional. If the examiner feels the sprain is significant, she may recommend X-rays to determine if there is a fracture. Particularly for people with a history of weak bones, as is the case in osteoporosis, for example, fractures can happen even without the injury to the ligaments.
How Sprains are Treated
In many cases, acute ankle pain from a sprain can be alleviated with proper amounts of rest and cyclical ice application. It’d best to limit walking to a minimum and to avoid putting weight on the injured ankle as much as possible during the recovery period.
Elevating the leg can help ease swelling, foot and ankle pain. Often the medical professional will recommend the use of crutches while recovering. Doing so helps to prevent more trauma to the injured ligament.
Over the counter anti-inflammatory medication often relieves ankle pain, but your doctor may prescribe a stronger anti-inflammatory depending on the severity of the injury.
When the sprain is very severe, the doctor may recommend using an immobilization cast.
The most severe sprains may require surgery. For people who are particularly active in sprain-prone sports, this is often the case. Physical therapy is regularly used in cases of a severe sprain. But often doctors recommend lower leg muscle exercises even for mild sprains since strengthening these muscles is an effective way to help prevent re-injury and ankle pain down the line.
A Note About Strains as Opposed to Sprains
A strain is similar to a sprain, in that a strain also describes a stretching or tearing of soft tissue. In the case of a strain, however, the injury affects a muscle or tendon. As with sprains, the severity and ankle pain of strains will determine the type of treatment.
Fractures of the bones in the ankle can range from minute stress fractures that radiate along a bone to full breaks. In any case, the result is usually ankle pain or a combination of foot and ankle pain. It is not unusual for fractures to accompany sprains, but the presence of a sprain doesn’t necessary mean a fracture is present.
If the bone break hasn’t resulted in a misaligned bone, a medical “boot” is commonly prescribed. This is true as well for a stress fracture. For most people, the boot helps diminish ankle pain significantly. In severe cases, the fracture may require surgical pinning or the need to perform open surgery on the broken bone.
Tendinitis occurs when a tendon has become inflamed. It can be the cause of mild, moderate, or severe foot and ankle pain. Ankle tendinitis is generally the result of trauma due to a sports injury or the overuse of a tendon.
But it can also be a warning sign of an underlying disease such as osteoarthritis. Whether occurring in the ankle, elbow, or elsewhere the hallmark symptoms of tendinitis are pain, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area.
The joint and ankle pain of tendinitis can come on rapidly or occur more gradually. Using the affected joint should be restricted while the tendon is still inflamed since risk is heightened for causing the inflamed tendon to rupture or tear.
Treatment of Tendinitis in the Ankle
Keeping the affected ankle immobile and elevated is usually the immediate method of treating tendinitis and relieving ankle pain. Usually, the medical professional who has diagnosed the injury also recommends limiting the amount of weight you put on the ankle.
Icing the area and taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory can help decrease swelling, inflammation and ankle pain. In more severe cases, orthopedic casting may be prescribed.
When To See a Doctor
Most ankle sprains are classified as “grade one,” which is the least severe type. The ankle pain, stiffness, and swelling of a grade one injury usually fade sometime between five and fourteen days. That being stated, since the initial ankle pain of even a grade one injury can be quite intense, it’s always recommended to seek medical treatment immediately in order to prevent worsening the injury.
Serious ankle injury symptoms include:
- Severe pain or swelling.
- An open wound or severe deformity.
- Signs of infection; redness, warmth, and tenderness in the affected area or a fever greater than 100 F.
- An inability to weight on the affected ankle.
How the Cause of Ankle Pain is Diagnosed
Diagnosing the cause of ankle pain is generally done by:
- A review of when the pain first occurred
- If there is a history of similar pain prior to the present injury
- If the pain was caused by trauma or overuse
- If an underlying disease is present
- Examining the ankle to establish the presence of warmth, redness, swelling, tenderness, and/or joint looseness
How to Prevent Ankle Injury and Tendinitis
By and large, preventing ankle pain due to injury and/or tendinitis is a matter of keeping the leg and ankle muscles, tendons, and ligaments strong and supple. Stretching and strengthening exercises for ankles is a great way to begin preparing for activities and workouts.
Heeding proper instruction and using sound physical training techniques can also help to minimize the risk of ankle pain and ankle tendinitis. In some cases, depending on your level of activity, it can also be a good idea to use an ankle brace or ankle taping to help avoid injury and tendinitis.
Alternatives to Surgery for Ankle Injury and Tendinitis
Physical therapy and stem cell therapy are becoming increasingly preferred over surgery whenever possible. Physical therapy helps to restore ankle strength and mobility while stem cell therapy works on the cellular level to repair damage and grow fresh tissue.
Stem cell therapy is now in wide use in the United States. As with any medical procedure, stem cell therapy should be performed by a licensed, trained physician. The National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) offers tips below for finding FDA guidelines-compliant stem cell clinics and qualified doctors.
What to Look for in a Stem Cell Medical Clinic
When searching for a qualified stem cell therapy center it’s important to remember that not all of them are created equal. Stem cells, when used properly, are your body’s most powerful means for healing that can repair everything from ligaments, tendons, and cartilage to organs including your liver, pancreas and lungs and even neurological tissue like your brain, nerves, and spinal cord.
Unfortunately, the majority of so-called “regenerative medicine clinics” in the world aren’t trained in the latest, most technologically advanced procedures and will, therefore, provide poor results if any.
The good news is the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) has established the most advanced stem cell and platelet rich plasma procedures on the planet which has drawn patients from all over the world as well as professional athletes and celebrities because they are recognized as the best in the world at stem cell therapy.
What makes NSI Stem Cell the top stem cell clinic in the world is demonstrated in 5 key areas:
1. Highly trained and experienced, board-certified doctors and team members who have performed stem cell procedures on thousands of patients with incredible results.
2. Cutting edge procedures utilizing all that regenerative medicine has to offer for many chronic degenerative conditions.
3. Leading scientific researchers who follow the advanced guidelines to maximize the healing potential of your stem cells and to maintain compliance and ethics
4. Use of only the most potent and viable resource of living, viable stem cells and harvested on the same day. No vial that you can purchase will contain living stem cells. If there is no harvest then there are no stem cells.
5. Post-operative guidance for supporting stem-cell growth including rehabilitation, diet and supplement protocols. NSI is a full-service healthcare center focused on patient outcomes. Stem cell therapy is only one tool used to help improve patients’ lives.
Patients have raved about their experience at NSI Stem Cell Clinics testifying that it was their unique cutting-edge procedures that helped them experience a breakthrough when nothing else worked.
If you want to learn more about NSI Stem Cell Clinics, you can set up a complimentary consultation today to see if you are a candidate. You can contact the National Stem Cell Institute at (877) 278-3623.
* Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary. As each patient’s problem is different, each treatment must be tailored around your specific needs.