How Do Ankle Pain Injuries Occur?
Ankle pain due to sprains will usually effect most of us at some stage throughout our lives, especially if you play sports which involve sudden changes in direction i.e. tennis, basketball, football, netball, etc.
There are commonly three types of ankle injuries which can cause pain in the ankle region. These three causes include:
1. Achilles Tendonitis.
2. Chronic Ankle Instability.
3. Sinus Tarsi Syndrome.
(a) Pronated Feet.
With excessive pronation of the feet, the foot becomes quite unstable during walking, running and jumping. This can lead to ankle sprains and strains and in severe cases, ligament rupture. Various other factors including poor footwear and uneven terrain can contribute to ankle instability.
Another major cause of chronic ankle instability, and resultant pain in the ankle, can include:
(b) Supinated Feet
In this situation the feet often exhibit abnormal alignment of the forefoot, (ie. forefoot valgus abnormality), which causes lateral(outer) ankle instability. The foot attempts to maintain ground contact during compensation for this "forefoot valgus" which gives rise to lateral ankle instability. People with this foot type are predisposed to painful ankles secondary to lateral ankle sprains.
3. Sinus Tarsi Syndrome.
The sinus tarsi is a small cavity that exists on the outer part of the foot between two bones, the talus ("ankle bone") and the calcaneus ("heel bone").
Sinus tarsi syndrome is the presence of pain on palpation of the area of this sinus tarsi cavity just below the ankle joint.
The treatment of ankle pain will vary depending on the cause of the ankle injury. Conservative treatment of ankle pain usually involves:
Training modification. Your training or activity schedule will be discussed and modified so that a successful and effective treatment can be administered.
R.I.C.E. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. As with any acute injury the RICE principle is paramount. It is necessary in the early stages of treatment to help fight the inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medication may also be required.
Orthoses - assist in stabilising the ankle and prevent impingement of the fatty tissue within the sinus tarsi cavity.
Exercises - strengthening and stretching of muscles around the ankle may be advised by your Podiatrist.
Heel lifts may be needed especially when restriction in ankle joint movement is present.
Sinus tarsi steroid injections may be considered with sinus tarsi syndrome.
Specialised ankle taping
Ankle braces may be prescribed
Wearing appropriate footwear to help stabilise the foot and ankle.
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy ( ESWT) can be very helpful in the treatment of Achilles Tendinopathy.
Surgery may be considered if conservative treatment fails to provide sufficient relief.
WARNING : This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional podiatric advice. Treatment will vary between individuals depending upon your diagnosis and presenting complaint. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following personal consultation with a Podiatrist, your Doctor or your foot specialist.
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