Ankle injuries are extremely common, with roughly half of the population sustaining at least one injury at some time in their lives. In a large percentage of cases this injury becomes an ongoing issue with chronic pain and limited physical activity.
Perhaps because acute this injuries are one of the most common sports injuries, they are often thought of as solely sports related, but they can happen to anyone, at any age, of any weight, of any level of fitness, and of any occupation.
Ankle pain may arise from any one of a number of anatomical structures including bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, nerves and blood vessels. When diagnosing ankle pain it is essential to examine the entire lower limb and the lower back because during weight bearing your foot is part of a closed mechanical chain – what happens at the ankle, including the forces acting it, is largely determined by the mechanics of the lower back, pelvis, hip and knee joints.
The most common ankle injury is a sprain of the ligament(s) on the outer side of the ankle. Other common injuries include strain of a muscle/tendon on the outer side of the lower leg and fracture of the lower outer prominence of the leg bone.
As the symptoms of a ligament sprain, a muscle/tendon strain and a bone fracture can be very similar, fractures are sometimes mistaken for sprains or strains. So it’s important to have an acute ankle injury professionally examined as soon as possible. In the medium to long run it is important to address any underlying factors to prevent ongoing problems.
There are a number of painful conditions that occur at the back of the heel. Although this area is not part of the ankle proper, these conditions are included on this page because it is generally thought of as being part of the ankle.
Left untreated, ankle pain may lead to: chronic pain in other parts of the same or opposite foot; | chronic pain elsewhere in the body, such as the knee, hip and/or lower back, due to altered gait (e.g. limping) from ankle pain.
Osteopathic treatment may relieve acute and chronic ankle pain, stiffness and other symptoms and restore function by improving range of motion; reducing fibrosis and adhesions; remodelling tissue architecture; stimulating tissue regeneration; and by improving blood supply and nerve activity.
Conditions that may respond well to osteopathic treatment include:
- Sprained ankle: It is a tear in one or more of the ligaments that support the ankle joint. It is often caused by an inversion injury, which is when the foot turns inward suddenly.
- Achilles tendinitis: Achilles tendinitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which is the thick band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. It is often caused by overuse or repetitive strain.
- Bursitis: Bursitis is an inflammation of a bursa, which is a small fluid-filled sac that cushions the joints. It can occur in the ankle joint, and is often caused by repetitive motion or overuse.
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes the cartilage in the joints to break down. It can affect any joint in the body, including the ankle.
- Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis that is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid crystals can form in the joints, causing inflammation and pain.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect the joints throughout the body, including the ankle.
- Lupus: Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect many different parts of the body, including the joints.
- Sever’s disease: Sever’s disease is a condition that affects children and adolescents. It is caused by inflammation of the growth plate in the heel bone.
- Flat feet: Flat feet are a common condition that occurs when the arches of the feet are collapsed. This can put extra stress on the ankle joints, leading to pain and other problems.
- High arches: High arches can also put extra stress on the ankle joints, leading to pain and other problems.
- Ingrown toenail: An ingrown toenail is a toenail that grows into the skin around the nail. This can cause pain, inflammation, and infection.
- Plantar fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes pain in the bottom of the foot. It is often caused by overuse or repetitive strain.
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome: Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when the tibial nerve is compressed in the ankle. This can cause pain, tingling, and numbness in the foot.
- Avascular necrosis: Avascular necrosis is a condition that occurs when the blood supply to bone is cut off. This can damage the bone and lead to pain and other problems.
If you are experiencing any of these conditions, it is important to see a doctor or osteopathic physician to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. Osteopathic treatment can help to reduce pain, inflammation, and improve function in it. It can also help to prevent further injury.