When our feet hurt, we hurt all over
Foot and Ankle Pain
Most people experience pain around their feet and ankles at some point in their lives.
It is one of the most complex and hardworking areas of your body. It has 26 bones and 33 small joints, all connected by a soft tissue network of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels. Most cases of foot and ankle pain are short-term and are caused by soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains.
These should gradually improve with the help of simple self-care measures. Some people may take months to fully recover, but they probably don’t need to see a specialist. However, some pain may have no apparent cause or may not be significantly relieved by self-care.
Pain that seems to get worse, doesn’t improve or lasts more than a few months may be due to structural changes in the foot or ankle or an underlying disease.
Several explanations for prolonged pain in and around the foot or ankle include:
- Inappropriate shoes
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Connective tissue disease
- Poor circulation
- Nerve damage
How can I treat foot and ankle pain when it starts?
Most foot and ankle pain can be treated without the need to see a specialist doctor. Soft tissue injuries should begin to heal within the first few days with some simple self-care tips. Careful protection of the affected area may be necessary for several months until complete recovery.
Self-care tips for foot and ankle pain-
Paracetamol and pain reliever gel can help reduce pain and discomfort. The pain treatment, known as RICE therapy, has four steps that help speed recovery, especially in the first few days. these are:
- Rest – Do not put weight on the injured foot or ankle. Do not exercise and move the affected area slowly to avoid stiffness.
- Ice – Apply ice packs or frozen vegetables with a damp cloth to the affected area for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours.
- Compression – Wrap the bandage around the painful area. It should be tight enough to hold it, but not so tight that it restricts blood flow. Glue them together.
- Elevate your legs to reduce swelling.
- Gently massaging the painful area from time to time can help reduce swelling and increase blood flow.
It is best to avoid hot baths, heat packs, ibuprofen and alcohol for the first few days as they can affect healing.
Exercise can help reduce pain and stiffness in the feet and ankles. If your feet and ankles are stiff in the morning, it may be easier to exercise if you take the time to loosen them up. A warm bath or shower can help reduce stiffness. Start slowly and gradually increase the amount as each exercise becomes easier or more comfortable.
It is normal to feel pain when moving your foot or ankle. However, if the movement makes you feel sick or causes sudden, severe pain, stop and consult a health care professional.
When should I see a healthcare professional for foot or ankle pain?
Some foot pain can be more than a short-term problem. If you can’t treat your pain on your own, or if you have a condition that can affect your joints or soft tissues, further investigation may be necessary.
Talk to a doctor or foot care specialist if:
- The pain does not improve in the first few days
- Your pain gets worse
- After 2 weeks of self-care, it still causes problems
- You have a wound that has not healed
- Your skin color has changed – especially if it is dark blue or black
- Your feet are deformed or really swollen
- High body temperature or hot chills
- Red, hot, or swollen, possibly due to infection
- The problem recurs or lasts more than 3 months
- Have an inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma
- You are diabetic
- Are taking steroids, biologics, or other drugs that affect the immune system?
How are a foot or ankle pain problems diagnosed?
A healthcare professional will usually make their diagnosis after examining your feet. They will look for signs of swelling and any structural changes that could be causing the pain. You may also be asked to walk about, to see whether the problem affects your movement and posture.
Most of the time they can make a diagnosis without scans, x-rays, or blood tests, unless they think your pain is being caused by a condition, such as arthritis.
Please contact SJMC Orthopedics & Sports medicine clinic situated at 6909 Brisbane Court, ste 300/B
Sugar land Tx 77479 if you are experiencing foot and ankle pain. Our doctor Dr. Javier Canon,
MD, Dr. Fred Speck, and Dr. Enrique Garcia as all are the best in their diagnosis and specialize in Sports Medicine, Physical and Occupational Therapy, and Elbow Pain Treatment.