The most common ankle symptoms among those who have suffered injury or who are dealing with a chronic condition are relatively similar. They can be pain, swelling, stiffness, instability, numbness, or a popping or cracked sound in the joint. There are a number of things that can cause ankle symptoms, including arthritis, sprains and fractures.
Pain caused by injury can be either sharp and acute or dull and painful. The most common type of ankle pain is caused by a sprain, which refers to the sudden stretching of the tendons beyond its limit. Painful ankle symptoms can usually be managed with ice, compression, rest and pain medication. If the pain becomes severe or lasts longer than usual, a doctor should be visited to examine the possibility of a fracture.
Stiffness is also one of the most common ankle symptoms, primarily in those who are recovering from an injury or who have arthritis. When not accompanied by pain, stiffness in the joint can simply lead to the inability to move as quickly or effectively. Often stiffness comes along with or as a result of ankle pain and swelling. In this case, it should be treated with either pain medication, rest and relaxation, or compression to allow the joint to heal.
Popping and scratching usually come as a result of injury, although arthritis can also cause these ankle symptoms. In most cases, there isn’t much a patient can do to prevent this from happening. If the pain is also present some medications may be helpful, although they will probably not help the sounds occur.
Instability is a common side effect of injury, especially in the first weeks and months after the injury occurred. Chronic and severe arthritis can also lead to weakness and instability of the joints. This puts a patient at a high risk of having an injured ankle further through sprains or falls. Very weak ankles may require the use of an ankle buckle or cane to prevent falls. Instability caused by injury should be managed by staying off the ankle for as long as possible and by avoiding activities that make the re-injury area more likely.
Numbness is one of the least common ankle symptoms, although it is perhaps the most problematic for many patients. While a numb feeling in the legs or ankle is often nothing serious, it can also indicate conditions such as vascular problems and diabetes. When combined with several symptoms such as swelling, it may indicate problems with blood pressure. Continued swelling, especially tight enough to cause numbness in the ankle and legs, can lead to permanent nerve damage. Patients should contact a physician immediately if these symptoms occur.
- Bruises can follow a variety of ankle injuries.
- Sprains and strains are common causes of ankle pain.
- Ice cream is often used to treat the swelling caused by a sprained ankle.
- Numbness is one of the least common, but most disturbing, ankle symptoms.
- A person with a broken ankle.