Should you have that sore, swollen ankle examined?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

By: Chad DeNamur, DPM

You’ve experienced ankle pain for a while. You’re not really sure exactly when it started, you just know it’s been a nagging, inconvenient sensation you wish would just go away. 


At the onset of your ankle pain, you considered calling the doctor’s office, but figured you’d adopt a wait-and-see approach. Seeing as that’s not working out for the better, here’s my advice to you – make an appointment with your doctor, now.


Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to consult your physician when you’re experiencing undiagnosed pain anywhere in your body. Pain radiating from your ankle is definitely worth checking into as it could lead to worsening conditions.


The reasons for your ankle pain can range from a simple sprain to signs of disease. Ankle pain often results from sprain, a forced twisting or bending of the ankle joint. Such pain also can be attributed to infection, arthritis, tendonitis and nerve compression – a foot and ankle specialist has the knowledge needed to determine the exact issue. Other ankle pain causes include, but are not limited to:

  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Bone spurs
  • Broken ankle or foot
  • Bursitis
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Stress fracture

Ankle pain is often accompanied by swelling and stiffness in the affected area. There also may be redness and warmth around the ankle.


In most cases, your pain can be controlled using acetaminophen, ibuprofen or other over-the-counter nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medications. This, along with using RICE Therapy (in which you give your ankle rest, apply ice to it, add compression and keep it elevated) can help ease and in many cases, cease ankle pain.


However, if the pain continues, especially when accompanied by swelling, infection or the inability to put weight on your ankle, a visit to your foot and ankle specialist is highly recommended. He or she can perform a number of basic examinations including, among other things, feeling for tender areas and swelling, and checking your flexibility and range of motion to better diagnose your ankle pain.


If needed, your specialist also can order X-rays of both your ankles for comparison, a computed tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance image (MRI) to better understand your ankle health and identify the cause of your pain.


In any event, don’t take ankle pain lightly. If it persists and affects your quality of life, call your doctor’s office and let him or her have a look. There is no need to let ankle pain disrupt your day-to-day activities.


For more information, please call Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic at (877) 884-8796 or click here to request an appointment.

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.