“You can have an ankle or shoulder injury, and in six or eight months, you’re healed. But if the heart stops for a few moments, that’s it.” – Nwankwo Kanu
Ankle pain is a common ailment that can disrupt our daily lives and limit our mobility. Whether you’re an athlete, an active individual, or just someone who enjoys a leisurely walk, dealing with ankle pain can be a real challenge.
But the good news is that ankle pain relief is often within reach. One of the options available for those suffering from chronic ankle pain is physical therapy. And a good question to ask is what are the common causes of ankle pain and how can physical therapy provide effective relief.
The Common Causes of Ankle Pain
Ankle pain and its characteristics can vary from person to person, and as a result of the causes of pain.
As the Mayo Clinic points out,
“The ankle can be painful when injured or affected by illness. The pain might be on the inside or outside of the ankle. Or it could be in back along the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon joins the muscles in the lower leg to the heel bone.”
Before we consider the role of physical therapy in ankle pain relief, let’s understand the common culprits that lead to this discomfort:
- Sprains and Strains: One of the most frequent causes of ankle pain is a sprained or strained ankle. This occurs when the ligaments or tendons around the ankle are stretched or torn due to sudden twisting or rolling of the foot.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can affect the ankle joint, leading to chronic pain and stiffness. Arthritis often worsens over time and can severely limit your mobility.
- Overuse and Repetitive Stress: Ankle pain can result from overuse and repetitive stress, particularly for athletes and individuals involved in high-impact sports. Continuous strain on the ankle can lead to inflammation and discomfort.
- Fractures: Ankle fractures, commonly seen after accidents or falls, can cause severe pain and often require medical attention.
- Tendinitis: Inflammation of the tendons in the ankle, known as tendinitis, can result from excessive use or strain. It can lead to persistent pain and discomfort.
- Nerve Compression: Conditions such as tarsal tunnel syndrome can lead to ankle pain. Nerves in the ankle become compressed, causing a range of symptoms, including pain and numbness.
- Poor Biomechanics: Sometimes, improper foot alignment and gait issues can contribute to ankle pain, as they create added stress on the ankle joint.
Mild ankle pain often responds well to home treatments, such as cold or heat, as well as OTC pain relievers and anti-inflammatories. But it can take time for the pain to diminish. You should see a health care provider for severe ankle pain, however, especially if it comes after an injury.
In many cases, treatment from a physical therapist can provide long term relief from ankle pain.
Physical Therapy: One Path to Ankle Pain Relief
Physical therapy is a widely available, non-invasive, and highly effective approach to treating ankle pain. It aims to reduce pain, improve mobility, and enhance the overall function of the ankle.
Here are seven ways that physical therapy can help:
- Customized Treatment Plans: A skilled physical therapist will assess your specific condition and create a tailored treatment plan. This plan considers the cause of your ankle pain, your current physical condition, and your goals for recovery.
- Pain Management: Physical therapists use a variety of techniques, including manual therapy and modalities like ultrasound, heat, and ice, to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
- Strengthening and Stretching Exercises: Ankle pain often results from weakened or imbalanced muscles around the joint. Physical therapists will guide you through a series of exercises to strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility in the ankle.
- Gait Analysis: For those with poor biomechanics, a gait analysis can be crucial. Your physical therapist will evaluate your walking and running patterns to identify any abnormalities that may contribute to ankle pain. This information helps in designing interventions that correct these issues.
- Balance and Proprioception Training: Building balance and proprioception (awareness of your body’s position in space) is vital in preventing future ankle injuries. Physical therapists incorporate exercises that challenge your balance and improve your ability to navigate uneven surfaces.
- Home Exercise Programs: Your physical therapist will provide you with exercises to perform at home. This ensures that you continue to progress in between sessions and maintain your gains.
- Education and Prevention: A crucial aspect of physical therapy is educating patients on how to prevent future ankle injuries. This may include recommendations on proper footwear, techniques for taping or bracing, and advice on when to seek treatment if pain returns.
While prevention is a major factor in dealing with ankle pain issues, the fact is that occasional steps off of curbs or elevated surfaces can quickly and easily cause one to turn or roll the ankle and result in pain and even injury.
But pain relief can be had!
Ankle Pain Relief: The Road to Recovery
Ankle pain doesn’t have to be a constant companion in your life. Through physical therapy, you can embark on a journey to find relief, improve your mobility, and regain the quality of life you deserve. Remember, the sooner you seek professional help, the faster you can return to the activities you love.
If you’re experiencing ankle pain, don’t hesitate to consult a physical therapist who specializes in orthopedic and musculoskeletal issues. They will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan, guiding you every step of the way toward a pain-free, active future. With dedication and professional guidance, you can conquer ankle pain and get back to doing the things you enjoy.
Effective Solutions from Pain and Performance
If you’re suffering from chronic or recurring ankle pain, we invite you to embark on a journey towards total pain relief.
And your initial step on this path involves connecting with Pain and Performance Solutions.
One notable approach we offer is the Active Release Technique®, or (ART®), a proven method for addressing a diverse range of soft tissue and joint pain. ART® is a patented, non-invasive treatment approach tailored to target various soft tissues.
This treatment is both secure and absent of pharmaceuticals, delivering remarkable efficiency.
We strongly urge you to arrange an appointment today. In your preliminary consultation and evaluation, we will work with you to establish a comprehensive grasp of your existing pain issues, your history concerning ankle and foot discomfort, any distress you may have encountered, and your current physical activity level.
Once we pinpoint the roots and characteristics of your condition, we can start the process of treatment and alleviation for your ankle pain.
Contact us today at (707) 636-4404 or make use of our online booking form to schedule a consultation and pay a visit to our office.