Your feet and ankles may take a backseat when it comes to prioritizing your health, which is not ideal. If you’re experiencing pain in your ankle, it’s important to get it checked out by a podiatrist, as there are a variety of conditions that can cause it, and the appropriate treatment protocol is critical for a successful recovery.
Let’s take a closer look at the most common ankle conditions diagnosed by podiatrists and how they are diagnosed and treated.
Ankle sprains are frequently encountered injuries where the ligaments in the ankle stretch or tear due to sudden movements during sports or a fall. An ankle sprain causes pain, swelling, and difficulty walking.
Podiatrists typically conduct a physical examination and check for swelling, tenderness, and limited range of motion, and possibly order an X-ray to rule out fractures. They will also ask about the circumstances of the injury before making a diagnosis.
Ankle sprains are usually treated with rest, ice, compression, elevation, and physical therapy. The use of braces or splints can help support the healing process.
Achilles tendonitis occurs when the Achilles tendon, which sits at the back of the ankle, becomes inflamed. Overuse, tight calf muscles, sudden stops and pivots, and inadequate footwear are common causes of Achilles tendonitis.
The podiatrist will evaluate your medical history and physically examine your leg and foot to assess the strength in the affected leg. Achilles tendonitis can be mistaken for an ankle sprain, and imaging tests are very helpful in revealing a thickening or tearing of the Achilles tendon.
Treating Achilles tendonitis may involve rest, ice, custom orthotics, and physical therapy, which includes strengthening the muscles around the Achilles tendon, improving flexibility, and promoting healing. Shockwave therapy, an in-office treatment, can help decrease pain and promote healing from Achilles tendonitis.
Several types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, or osteoarthritis, can affect the ankle joint and cause pain and inflammation.
The podiatrist will ask about your medical history and examine your ankle joint. They will check for inflammation, a limited range of motion, instability, and deformity. The foot doctor may also look for tender areas or crepitus, which produces a grating sensation when moving the joint. An X-ray visualizes the bones and joints in the ankle and can reveal signs of arthritis and the extent of the condition.
Treatment depends on the type of arthritis. A combination of medications, temperature (heat and ice) therapy, physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the joint, footwear modifications and custom orthotics, and weight management are usually prescribed to manage ankle arthritis. The foot doctor may recommend the use of splints or walkers and canes to help relieve stress on your joints.
Surgery may be recommended if non-surgical methods do not relieve the symptoms of ankle arthritis. The foot and ankle surgeon may remove the inflamed lining of the joint, realign or fuse together the bones in a joint, or replace the damaged joint with an artificial one.
A broken ankle is an injury to one or more of the three bones in your ankle joint. It is a common injury in athletes but can also affect non-athletes who have an accident or a direct blow to the ankle.
A podiatrist diagnoses a broken ankle with a physical exam, which checks for bruising, swelling, and deformity, and the use of X-rays or an MRI scan, which reveals the site of the fracture and the extent and severity of the damage.
Once diagnosed, treatment often begins by immobilizing the foot in a protective boot or cast, ensuring sufficient stability during the healing process. Physical therapy is critical to regaining flexibility, range-of-motion, and strength in the ankle.
Ankle Injury Treatment in San Antonio, Boerne, Hondo, Floresville, Kenedy, Uvalde, and Live Oak, TX
Suffering from an ankle condition or injury? Get your ankle the appropriate treatment it needs and get back to your normal activities soon. The Podiatry Group of South Texas has 14 locations in South Texas. Choose the most convenient location to call for you to see a podiatrist and get expert care for your injury.
You can also use our online request form to make an appointment. We look forward to serving you!