Our feet and ankles are probably the most underappreciated parts of our bodies. Consider the work they do every day so that you can carry out your daily activities – and they do it while under significant pressure! Were you aware that your feet and ankles are subject to a force equivalent to about 1.5 times your total body weight so that you can walk? It’s even more if you’re running. No wonder an injury to the foot or ankle can be so painful and debilitating.
Proper Care & Treatment Is Critical
What treatments you use will depend on the cause of your foot and ankle pain. Even then, when to use treatments can be downright confusing and may contribute to making your condition worse.
For example, a sprained ankle is a fairly common injury seen by foot and ankle specialists like those at Associated Orthopaedics. You might think that icing an ankle sprain will always be considered the right thing to do. Not so fast! Icing an injury for too long can inhibit the growth of new blood vessels and cause an overall delay in your healing. Then again, using heat too soon after an injury can actually increase the pain you feel, as it rushes blood flow to the area.
See a doctor about your foot and ankle pain – especially if you’re not 100% sure of the cause. The right treatment for your foot and ankle pain will depend on numerous factors, including the severity, location, cause, and timing of your injury, along with other considerations. In addition, there are an enormous amount of bones and a complex network of soft tissues (muscle, tendons, ligaments) in the compact area of your feet. This can make treatment challenging, which is best handled by a foot and ankle specialist.
Common Foot and Ankle Injuries & Treatment
There is a wide range of problems that can cause foot and ankle pain. We’ll mention just a few of these below, as well as how they’re treated.
Overuse & Minor Trauma
Overuse or minor trauma can lead to painful inflammation of the feet and ankles. Appropriate treatment in these cases may focus on self-care efforts, such as rest-ice-compression-elevation, bandages, cushions, orthotics, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or pain relievers, as well as hot and cold therapy.
With respect to hot and cold therapy, as a general rule, you use cold to relieve painful swelling and warmth to relieve pain associated with muscle stiffness. However, as mentioned earlier, it can be complicated to choose the right treatment for the right amount of time. A certain amount of swelling is a normal part of the healing process – and there are times to simply rest an injury rather than try to move it.
Seeing a doctor is important anytime you have a concern about foot or ankle pain. A foot and ankle specialist can recommend physical therapy or prescribe medication if needed. They will be able to recommend orthotics or the specific type of bandages or cushions that could help you. And don’t ignore the value of a foot and ankle specialist being able to rule out a more serious cause of your foot and ankle pain – that alone is well worth a doctor visit!
Underlying Medical Condition
Foot and ankle pain can be the result of an underlying condition requiring medical attention and treatment. Common culprits of foot and ankle pain include arthritis, fractures, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon tears, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, and more. Appropriate treatment will vary considerably, depending on the cause of your foot and ankle pain.
Nonsurgical treatments include assistive devices (e.g., ankle wrap, splints, shoe inserts), physical therapy, and medications – including corticosteroids and other injections that can often stop the cycle of pain after a single shot.
Surgical treatments run the gamut and may include:
- Soft tissue repair. Moderate to severe Achilles tendon tears, and other soft tissue injuries can be surgically repaired.
- This surgically removes the bunion, realigning the bone, so your big toe returns to its proper position.
- Arthroscopy. This minimally invasive approach allows for both diagnosis and treatment of joint issues in a single procedure. It may include debridement, which removes loose tissue or bone spurs in the area that may be causing inflammation and pain.
- Fusion. A procedure to fuse two bones together may be necessary due to damage caused by arthritis, fracture, or other causes.
- Joint replacement. When the ankle damage is severe – often due to arthritis or a previous injury – an ankle joint replacement may be necessary.
Foot and Ankle Pain Relief in Kingsport, TN
There is no need to needlessly suffer from foot and ankle pain. The orthopedic specialists at Associated Orthopaedics have the knowledge, training, and experience needed to quickly and accurately pinpoint the cause of your foot and ankle pain – and effectively treat it. You have more treatment options than you think!
Call Associated Orthopaedics in Kingsport, Tennessee, at (423) 245-3161 to schedule your visit or request an appointment now. We accept walk-ins, too!