Ankle pain refers to any type of pain or discomfort in your ankles. There are many causes of ankle pain such as injury or arthritis. Depending on the cause, you may experience pain, stiffness, or swelling around your ankle and be unable to bear weight on it.
Causes of Ankle Pain
According to research, up to 85 percent of ankle injuries are caused by an ankle sprain. This happens when the ligament is accidentally torn or overstretched. The most common type of ankle sprain is a lateral sprain, which occurs when your outside ankle twists toward the ground. Other injuries that cause ankle pain include bursitis, fractures, and tendonitis. Some diseases, disorders, or conditions can also result in ankle pain such as arthritis, flatfoot, blocked blood vessels, gout, sciatica, and infection in the joint.
Ankle Pain Diagnosis
When you go to a doctor, they will often start assessing your ankle pain by examining your ankle and foot for signs of swelling, pain, and bruising. Your doctor may also order an x-ray, CT, or MRI scan to help them reach an accurate assessment. If there is any suspicion of an infection, a biopsy may be performed by removing a sample of tissue and sending it to a lab to check for the presence of bacteria.
Treating Ankle Pain
Most minor ankle pains can be treated at home using the RICE method. RICE stands for:
Rest – Try to avoid putting weight on your ankle and limiting movement for the first few days.
Ice – Use ice on your ankle to help reduce swelling and reduce pain.
Compression – Wrapping the injured ankle with bandages.
Elevation – Raising the ankle above heart level.
You may also consider taking over-the-counter medications to help relieve pain and swelling temporarily.
For more severe cases of ankle pain treatment may include:
Braces and splints to help stabilize your ankle.
Joint aspiration: inserting a needle into the joint to remove excess fluids.
Prescription medicine to reduce inflammation and pain.
Orthotic inserts: inserts that fit into your shoes to help support your foot when walking.
Steroid injections such as cortisone shots to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Surgery to repair torn ligaments or tendons or replacement surgery to help restore ankle function.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, ankle pain is associated with the meridians that run through the ankle joint. Meridians are channels of blood and Qi (energy). These are also associated with different organs in the body. The gallbladder and bladder meridian travels through the lateral side of the ankle, the stomach and liver meridian travels through the front of the ankle, and the kidney and spleen meridian travels through the medial side of the ankle. If the meridians are weak, it could affect the strength of the ankle and make it more susceptible to injury, and conversely, the meridians can also be affected if the ankle is injured. In some instances, the ankle pain isn’t caused by any physical injury and there aren’t any observable abnormalities or deformities in the ankle, this is where the meridian theory can be used to explain the cause of pain. There is a famous saying in Chinese Medicine “if there is pain, there is a blockage. If there is no blockage, there is no pain”.
Oftentimes, our ankle pain is the result of blockages in the meridians. Ankle pain can eventually lead to pathological changes in the muscle, tendons, and ligaments around the ankle joint if left untreated for a long period. For example, if the ankle pain along the kidney meridian is left untreated, it can lead to the development of plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. Pathological changes in the meridians can also lead to more severe illness later in life. For instance, ankle pain along the kidney or spleen meridian could also develop into a more severe illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, etc if left untreated.
The ankle has been used by doctors of Chinese medicine to help diagnose patients’ health conditions because it can tell us a great deal about our health. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver governs the tendons and ligaments, and the kidney govern the bones. The ankle is largely made up of tendons, ligaments, and bones. Therefore, pain in the ankle area can also be an indication of an imbalance in the liver and kidney. For more information about how Chinese Medicine can treat pain issues like ankle pain, click here.
Many people around the world experience some form of ankle pain. However, the seemingly simple ankle pain may have more serious health implications than we think. Chinese Medicine theory suggests that the ankle and our internal organ systems are interconnected. Receiving the right treatment for your ankle pain promptly will minimize the time for healing and prevent future health complications.
At Centre of Balance, our practitioners have many years of experience treating ankle pain patients with great results. By addressing ankle pain from its root cause using holistic methods, we are confident that we can help you bring your organs back to balance and relieve your pain. Why not give us a call, have a chat with our expert team, and see how we can help you?