Chronic ankle pain, especially on the lateral (outside) side of the joint, is a major source of distress for active individuals of all ages. Sufferers in their 20s and 30s may find that the pain forces them to cut back on sports and fitness activities. People of all ages may also feel unstable on their feet, with the ankles constantly feeling as if they will give way at any instant. Acute pain might spike with certain motions or activities; chronic pain may set in and stay for hours or days.
This kind of pain is a lot more common than you might think. By some estimates, as many as 40% of all ankle sprain suffers will deal with some amount of chronic ankle pain well after “full healing.” There could be other contributing factors as well.
Causes of Chronic Ankle Pain
Chronic ankle pain and instability usually results after an ankle sprain that never healed properly, or perhaps a series of sprains. When ligaments are stretched or torn, it takes time and effort during rehabilitation to rebuild strength. That process may, unfortunately, be left incomplete. With each injury, the ligaments come back a little bit looser and weaker, and aren’t as able to protect you from the next injury.
This is a big problem, as many people who suffer ankle sprains do not initially take their injury as seriously as they should. Don’t try to “walk it out” or assume the injury will heal on its own. Seeking professional advice is always a must.
That said, sprains and weak ligaments are not the only possible cause of chronic ankle pain. Other suspects include:
- Nerve injuries or compression
- Bone fractures
- Inflammation in other soft tissues, such as tendons or joint lining
- Built-up scar tissue in the joint
Treatment and Restoration for Ankle Pain
Our team understands that each person and each condition are different. The best treatment plan for you personally may vary based on the cause and severity of your chronic ankle pain, as well as your personal and professional needs.
Treatment options may include:
- Physical therapy. Stretches and exercises are designed to relieve pain, increase range of motion, and improve strength and stability in the supporting muscles and tendons. This can provide temporary support to a weak or unstable ankle.
- Shockwave therapy. This advanced device uses high-intensity pressure waves to reduce pain and stimulate healing.
- Laser treatment. Our state-of-the-art cold laser improves oxygen transfer, tissue repair, and soothes pain.
- Nerve decompression. May be necessary if your chronic pain is caused by a nerve issue.
When you visit our practice, you can expect a thorough examination, accurate diagnosis, and individual treatment from the best trained specialists in the area. To schedule your appointment, please call (702) 878-2455.