Foot and ankle pain: Common questions answered

Sometimes when we feel an ache in our ankle or foot it is hard to pinpoint its actual cause and how we can prevent it.

Mr Rajiv Limaye, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at BMI Woodlands Hospital, is answering frequently asked questions to help us understand why we get pain in our ankles or feet, and how to relieve or treat it.

Q: Why do ankles and feet ache?

There are many reasons why an ankle or foot might hurt. The common causes are bunions, arthritis in the big toe and foot, tendon dysfunctions and ligament injuries.

Both active and non-active group of patients can be equally affected and there are no age limits to these problems as both men and women are equally affected.

Q: When are these aches and pains symptoms of other underlying conditions?

When the initial problems start, the body will try and compensate in various ways. This natural defence will stop, and the symptoms of underlying problems will be evident.

This can take a few months or even a few years. However, in active people this starts to limit the activity very soon and they usually seek advice from a doctor.

Q: How can you correctly identify types on ankle pain and types of foot pain?

The usual presentation of any foot/ankle problem starts with swelling, pain and deformity. Depending on various conditions, you will start getting a reduction of your activity level, whether it is walking, physical activity or recreational activities.

Q: What should I do or not do once my ankle starts aching?

If the symptoms are not responding to the usual pain killers, physiotherapy and activity modifications, then you should seek advice from your GP or a foot/ankle surgeon, who is medically qualified and has a sub-specialty foot/ankle practice.

The history of injury is usually relevant, however in cases of degenerative conditions, the doctor will be able to advise sooner.

Q: How can I relieve ankle pain and foot pain?

Once you seek advice from a foot/ankle specialist, usually investigations in the form of X-rays, ultrasound, MRI scans or CT scans are organised to confirm the diagnosis.

Depending on the condition, usually a course of non-operative treatment is offered first, but if the response is minimal, then surgery can be considered.

Q: How can I prevent foot and ankle pain while staying active?

It is very important to remain active. This must be in conjunction with looking after our joints, muscle strength and function.

Foot/ankle problems can affect us in one or many ways and it is very important to seek advice early if there are any issues.

Q: How can I strengthen my ankles and prevent injuries?

The most common method of strengthening your ankle is through physiotherapy. However, if the source of the condition is not addressed, the outcomes of physiotherapy can be compromised. Therefore, you should seek advice when the pain appears.

To find out more call us on 0808 101 0337 or make an online enquiry.

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