Ankle pain is usually due to ankle injuries or medical conditions, such as arthritis. Home remedies, physical therapy, and medication from a podiatrist can help alleviate ankle pain. Here is a closer look at the various types of ankle pain treatment:
Orthotics are specialized footwear pieces that provide targeted support. Custom orthotics can improve stability for patients with ankle pain. Manufacturers of orthotics use different materials to create custom footwear and reduce pain in the ankles. The main types of orthotics are traction devices, splints, and inserts.
Orthotics attach to your footwear and help to stabilize the position of ankles and feet. They can make it easier to run, walk, and remain active at home or at work. The support is helpful to people who are experiencing ankle pain due to abnormal compression inside the ankle joint.
You can start with over-the-counter orthotics that address problems such as heel pain and foot pain. To know if the orthotics are right for you, try to bend the insert. If you can roll or bend the inserts easily, the product is designed for cushioning, not support. Orthotics are meant to provide support and alleviate ankle pain. They should bend while the arch of your foot doesn’t bend.
If your ankle pain is due to problems such as incorrectly positioned ligaments and muscles, you can get custom orthotics. Custom orthotics come close to your foot arch to help correct overarched feet. High-quality footwear can also alleviate issues such as plantar fasciitis and abnormal motion.
Below are some of the most common and effective types of orthotics. Talk to a podiatrist to learn which type of orthotic can help you make the first steps toward being pain-free.
Ankle Braces and Splints
Ankle braces or splints support the ligaments on your ankle joint. This protective equipment is easy to apply and is available in different designs. Modern braces can tighten around the ankle to reduce pain and swelling while increasing ankle proprioception. Braces also offer internal support to tendons and muscles. This allows the braces to address inflammation of the ankle or foot and reduce the risk of acute ankle injuries.
Ankle braces should keep your toes and feet pointed forward, especially if you have severe injuries, such as damaged tissues, joint dislocations, bone fractures, and sprains. These types of injuries are common for athletes. Compressing ankle injuries can also help the brain control, sense, and connect with nerves in the ankle.
Joint pain in the ankle can happen when the cartilage or synovial fluid in the ankle reduces. Excess fluid can collect in the spaces inside a joint capsule and cause swelling and pain in your ankle. This may be due to joint injuries, infections, or arthritis. Joint aspiration is one of the quickest and safest procedures that can address the problem without damaging surrounding tissues.
Your podiatrist can use a syringe and needle to extract the fluid and relieve the swelling and pain. A local anesthetic helps reduce pain during joint aspiration. By removing the fluid, the procedure helps relieve painful pressure in the ankle joints, boosting movement. Your doctor may also provide medication after removing the fluid to help treat bursitis or tendonitis.
Physical therapists are movement experts who create customized programs with specific stretches and strengthening exercises to address ankle pain. The therapy helps people regain balance, motion, and strength.
There are many types of physical therapy exercises, including non-weight-bearing dorsiflexion, non-weight plantar flexion, non-weight-bearing inversion, and non-weight-bearing eversion. Other types of physical therapy exercises include resisted strengthening plantar flexion and partial weight-bearing seated exercises. The therapy can go on for several weeks until the pain dissipates.
Before recommending the appropriate type of physical therapy, physical therapists will test and screen your ankle to determine the cause of your swelling and pain. This process may require the physical therapist to collaborate with orthopedic physicians and other medical experts. The tests are meant to rule out other potential causes of ankle pain, such as a fracture.
Work With a Podiatrist
Ankle pain can cause discomfort and interfere with your normal activities. You can use various treatment options to alleviate the pain and improve your ankle’s stability and movement. Start by scheduling an appointment with a podiatrist to find the best treatment for you.