Five things to ask when your ankle hurts

When your ankle starts aching, it’s key to get down to the bottom of the situation and determine how to make it better. Here are a few questions you should think about if your ankle hurts.

How old are you?

It’s a hard truth, but it’s important to keep in mind: the older we get, the more prone we are to experiencing injury in our ankles. There are several factors that contribute to age-related ankle issues, including arthritis. Over time, arthritis can cause joints to wear down, and sometimes a replacement is needed to get things back on track. Additionally, age simply makes our bodies more susceptible to being hurt. For example, men over the age of 30 are particularly at risk for Achilles ruptures.

How long has it been sore?

It’s important to determine whether your pain is chronic or if it is a recent development. This can help narrow down its causes and help us treat it more effectively. For example, long-lasting pain might be a symptom of arthritis or other joint deterioration. A new ache, however, is likely a symptom of an injury or other trauma, and treatment should be approached differently.

What were you doing when the pain started?

Sometimes when an ankle is injured, adrenaline can take over — causing pain to be delayed or go unnoticed until a later date. If your pain is recently developed, think back to where you were when it started. For example, if you were running The New York marathon, working out, or otherwise on the move, your action could be behind the injury. Did you experience a fall or twist? Did you hear a sound, like a snap, when it happened? By putting these pieces together, we can offer relief faster and more effectively.

Have you had an ankle surgery in the past?

Unfortunately, not all ankle surgeries are perfect. If you have had a replacement, fusion, or other procedure before, you’re at risk for it to fail. Although rare, failure can be painful, but a repairing surgery can help take away the trouble. Consulting with a professional is key to spotting this problem, so don’t hesitate to schedule an evaluation when you feel the aching start. If necessary, we can set up a revision surgery.

What medicines are you taking?

Certain prescription drugs can increase your risk of an ankle injury, including antibiotics and steroid injections. While the risk is not worth stopping taking a medication, being aware can help signify if it’s causing ankle issues. Additionally, if you are taking over-the-counter pain medications to reduce the aches that come with your ankle injury, consider easing up on them to determine if your pain is still present or if it is simply being masked with medicine. The simple truth is that not all injuries can be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation alone, so you might need to do more than pop a few pills and wait it out at home.

Once we determine exactly what is behind your ankle pain, we can start strategizing ways to treat it. This might mean surgery, but it could also consist of physical therapy or regenerative treatment. Regardless of your situation, you’re in good hands under our care.

Posted in: Ankle

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Dr. Hubbard’s goal as a Foot and Ankle Surgeon is to provide expertise in achieving an accurate diagnosis, implementing exceptional surgical technique whenever indicated, and most importantly, utilizing practical judgment to devise an effective individualized treatment plan that will restore the patient’s foot or ankle health and function, improving their overall quality of life.