Ankle pain can affect people of any age, but it can become more common as you reach your senior years. For one thing, the bones, joints, and soft tissues undergo many changes with aging, making you more susceptible to ankle discomfort, pain, and injury as you get older. Before you know it, ankle pain could become a chronic issue you must deal with.
Pain is a symptom that something is wrong. A fracture or a stretching of the ligament are two of the most common causes of ankle pain. Wrong footwear and incorrect biomechanics also contribute to the problem. Ankle painmust be evaluated by a medical professional to receive the appropriate treatment.
When ankle pain is treated in seniors, special considerations need to be made due to factors such as age-related conditions, mobility limitations, and an overall increased risk of complications.
Why is Ankle Pain More Common in the Elderly?
There are several reasons why ankle pain is common in seniors:
Degenerative Changes to the Joints
As you age, the body’s joints accumulate wear and tear, and the ankle joints are no exception. The degeneration of cartilage and other joint tissues can lead to a progressive condition called arthritis, which is chronic and painful. It is caused by inflammation and bone-on-bonerubbing.
Weakening Muscles and Ligaments
With age, muscles and ligaments in the foot also weaken, which can lead to instability in the ankle joint. Instability increases your risk of spraining or breaking your ankle.
Reduced Bone Density
Osteoporosis, a condition characterized by reduced bone density, is more common in the elderly, especially women. Weakened bones are more susceptible to fractures, including those in the ankle.
Aging can lead to decreased blood flow to various areas of the body, including the feet and ankles. Poor circulation can contribute to the slower healing of soft tissue injuries.
Special Considerations for Treating Ankle Pain in Seniors
Seniors needing treatment for ankle issues need to seek out a highly experienced foot and ankle specialist for their care. These doctors understand the challenges that come with ankle pain treatments in seniors and are qualified to treat them.
Conservative Treatment Approaches
Due to potential complications in the elderly, conservative treatments are often preferred. These may include pain management techniques, physical therapy, and orthotic devices to provide support to the ankle and relieve symptoms.
Seniors may be taking multiple medications for various health issues. Foot and ankle doctors carefully consider drug interactions and potential side effects when prescribing medication for ankle pain.
Strong Emphasis on Fall Prevention
Seniors are at greater risk of falls due to balance issues, and injuries from falls can lead to serious complications. Therefore, addressing ankle pain typically includes fall prevention strategies, such as home modifications, balance exercises, and assistive devices.
Nutrition and Bone Health
Nutritional support is essential for maintaining bone health. Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake is encouraged to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of fractures. If the patient has osteoporosis, medication such as bisphosphonates may benefit the patient.
Patience During Recovery
Ankle pain recovery may take longer in seniors. Foot and ankle doctors encourage patience and forpatients to avoid overexertion to prevent complications during recovery.
Top Foot and Ankle Specialist in San Antonio, Boerne, Hondo, Floresville, Kenedy, Uvalde, and Live Oak, TX
The foot and ankle surgeons, or podiatrists, at the Podiatry Group of South Texas are highly experienced in treating patients of all ages, including seniors, who require specialized care for their feet and ankles.
Should you need ankle surgery, we are proud to say advances in medicine and surgery allow for minimally invasive and lower risk procedures to treat you. We will help you through your recovery, for greater comfort and to ensure the correct healing of your ankle.