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Understanding and Addressing Ankle Pain

Understanding and Addressing Ankle PainAnkle injuries are common in athletes, children, and older adults who engage in recreational sports. The pain from an ankle injury can be debilitating and take you off the field. Last month, former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki had to withdraw from the 2016 French Open because of an ongoing issue with her right ankle. Besides tennis, sports injuries to the foot and ankle also occur in football, basketball, soccer, and running, where the feet are the point of contact.

Injury to the ankle bones, ligaments or tendons can be caused by:

  • Strains: This injury occurs when the muscles are overstretched or torn. In sports, strains are the result of repetitive overuse, overexertion or not warming up properly.
  • Sprains: Sprains occur when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way. This causes the ligaments that help hold the ankle bones together to stretch and tear.
  • Fractures: Players may roll or twist their ankle on an uneven surface, causing a fracture. Broken bones may also be the result of an abnormal movement when the player changes direction too quickly or sharply. Stress fractures are caused by trauma and repetitive overuse.
  • Injuries of the growth plate:These can occur due to overuse or an event such as a fall or blow to the limb. As growth plates are the weakest areas of the growing skeleton, they are particularly susceptible to injury.

While athletes usually suffer ankle injuries due to stress, complex moves, and repetitive play, ankle pain can also be caused by medical conditions such as arthritis.

It is important to seek medical treatment for an ankle injury that does not resolve within 2-3 weeks. Joint pain is effectively treated with physical and rehabilitative modalities in a New York multispecialty health care center. In such facilities, orthopedic specialists work with sports medicine physicians, pain management doctors, physical therapists and other health care professionals to provide treatment for sports injuries with the goal to restore function and enable quick return to the field.

Physical exams, lab work, and imaging tests such as X-ray and ankle MRI are used to diagnose ankle injuries. Treatment plans in a New York rehabilitation center would include anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDS), physical therapy, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), chiropractic care, cold compression therapy and foot orthotics. Surgery will be recommended only for severe injuries.

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