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Ankle Pain Treatments, Causes & Diagnosis

Ankle Pain Causes

Ankle pain can be caused by one or more disorder; these include :

  1. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome : This condition occurs when the “Posterior Tibial Nerve” becomes compressed in the tarsal tunnel. This nerve travels at the back of the leg providing the sensory and motor innervations to foot muscles.
  2. Achilles Tendinitis : This condition occurs when the “Achilles tendon” (which joins the lower leg muscles to the heel bone) is overused causing an injury. It most commonly affects individuals who play high impact sports such as running, basketball or tennis where they subject the tendon to extra strain causing it to become inflamed.
  3. Ankle Sprain : When one of the ligaments in the ankle is damaged from an accident such as tripping, falling or twisting or rotating the foot suddenly can cause the ankle to become sprained resulting in pain and swelling and an inability to use the foot normally.
  4. Ankle Fracture : A fractured or broken ankle is a condition where one or more of the ankle bones have been broken. These are most commonly those of the lower leg such as the “Tibia” and “Fibula” that usually break due to an accident or a sports injury.
  5. Ankle Arthritis : Ankle Arthritis is a general term for a group of more than 100 diseases. When it affects the ankle joint it can produce swelling and pain, and may eventually result in deformity, loss of joint function, and decreased ability to walk.
  6. Plantar Fasciitis : Pain in the plantar fascia is known as “Plantar Fasciitis”, a term used to cover the condition that involves pain and inflammation of the plantar fascia. Symptoms include stabbing pain that usually happens with the first morning steps at the underside of the heel. The pain diminishes with movement, however, long stands or standing up after being seated for a while may trigger an intense pain. The pain may also arise with climbing stairs.
  7. Tendon sheath inflammation, what is called tendinosis or tendinitis or tenosynovitis : A tendon is a type of fibrous tissue that connects your muscles to your bones. These tissues help control actions such as running, jumping, grasping, and lifting. Without tendons, you wouldn’t be able to control the movement of your body.

What are the treatments of ankle pain?

  1. Medication : Using anti inflammatory medications which provides varying results from one patient to the other and typically gives short term relief and is ineffective with others.
  2. Physiotherapy : Performing some physiotherapy exercises with a specialist. This may provide a relief of pain after many sessions. This could be ineffective and some patients do not prefer this type of long course treatment.
  3. Pain Killers and Exercise : This approach relies on using painkillers combined with stretching exercises and waiting for the pain to improve. This may show an effect within 1 to 6 months.
  4. Surgical Intervention : When Is Surgery Needed? When osteoarthritis has progressed substantially or failed to improve with non-surgical treatment, surgery may be recommended. In advanced cases, surgery may be the only option. The goal of surgery is to decrease pain and improve function. Some patients resort to surgery to end the severe pain. This approach has varying results according to the cause and severity of the pain and carries the common risks associated with any surgery or undergoing general anesthesia.
  5. Localized pain management injection with ultrasound guidance (our preferred method of administrating the medication) : This is a modern, advanced, non surgical treatment technique that relies on injecting specific medication accurately into the area of inflammation under ultrasound guidance. Using an accurate, effective, safe and non invasive technique, make us achieve better results in terms of pain relief/management. Statistic accuracy rate is about 95-99%.

Ultrasound guided injection of ankle pain?

This technique uses FDA approved medication, which is injected, directly into the pain area under ultrasound guidance. This technique has the following benefits:

Helps the radiologist to accurately identify the inflamed tendon or bursa, which is important to confirm the clinical examination.

Allows the radiologist to accurately localize and effectively administer the medicine to one or more compartments of the painful area “if necessary” resulting in better and faster pain relief.

The patient benefits the most by having the medication in the right spot without pain or complications.