How to Reduce Ankle Pain and Swelling? - Best Possible Way

Ankle pain and swelling is a common problem across the world. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, about 25,000 people sprain their ankles daily. These conditions can affect people of all ages, but they are more common in older adults and physically active people.

However, there are several things a person must know about how to reduce ankle pain and opt for effective remedies at home to help speed up healing and reduce the risk of re-injury. This blog will make you learn about the cause of your ankle pain and swelling, along with how to cure ankle pain.

Causes of Ankle Pain and Swelling

Pain and swelling in the ankle can develop due to several factors. Some of the most common causes of ankle pain and swelling include:

  1. Injuries: Sprains, strains, and fractures are common causes of ankle pain and swelling. These injuries can occur from a sudden twisting or turning of the ankle or from a direct blow to the ankle.
  2. Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other forms of arthritis can cause pain and swelling in the ankle joint.
  3. Gout: A gout is a form of arthritis caused by the build-up of uric acid crystals in the joint, which can cause severe pain and swelling in the ankle.
  4. Tendinitis: Inflammation of the tendons that attach the muscles to the bones in the ankle can cause pain and swelling.
  5. Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursa (small fluid-filled sacs) that cushion the joint can cause pain and swelling in the ankle.
  6. Ligament or cartilage tears: Tearing of the ligaments or cartilage in the ankle can lead to pain and swelling.
  7. Overuse: Repeatedly using the ankle in activities such as running, jumping, or dancing can cause pain and swelling.
  8. Varicose veins: Veins that are enlarged or twisted can cause pain and swelling in the ankle.

How to Relieve Ankle Pain and Swelling?

While wondering how to reduce ankle pain, patients often look for effective techniques that treat the pain. There are numerous safe and effective processes to reduce ankle pain and swelling. These include:

  1. Non-surgical methods
  2. Surgical methods

Non-Surgical Treatment to Reduce Ankle Pain and Swelling

Non-surgical treatment methods have been safe and effective for centuries in treating ankle pain and swelling, but they help to get rid of mild to moderate ankle pain. Some of the best non-surgical treatment options to reduce ankle pain include:

The RICE Method

One of the most trusted methods to reduce ankle pain and swelling is the RICE (Rest, Ice technique, Compression and Elevation). Below is a detailed view of this at-home pain-relieving method:

  1. Rest: Resting the ankle is essential for healing, and wearing a brace can assist in stabilising the injured area. The risk of suffering another injury increases when one returns too soon to sports or other activities.
  2. Ice: Apply an ice pack (wrapped in a towel or a cloth) to the sprain for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. The ice pack helps to reduce blood flow to the injury while reducing pain and swelling.
  3. Compression: Compression may help to lessen swelling while also stabilising the injured joint. Wrap a bandage around the injured ankle. The application should be snug but not so tight that it digs into the skin or causes pain or numbness.
  4. Elevation: Ankle elevation prevents fluid buildup in the joint after a sprained ankle. This can help reduce pain by reducing swelling. Sleep with the foot and ankle propped up on pillows higher than the heart. When sitting or sleeping, elevate the foot and ankle with cushions or a footrest.

Exercise

Alongside the RICE technique, exercises can also restore strength and balance, preventing muscle weakness and reducing re-strain risk. Once the swelling goes down, it's best to start ankle exercises. Try the following easy ankle exercises at home.

  1. Ankle circles: Sit with your legs extended in front of you and lift one foot off the ground. Slowly rotate your ankle in a circle, both clockwise and counterclockwise, for several repetitions.
  2. Heel raises: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and raise up onto your toes, then lower your heels back down. Repeat this exercise several times.
  3. Calf stretches: Stand facing a wall with your hands against the wall and one leg behind the other. Keep your back leg straight, and lean forward until you feel a stretch in your calf. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat on the other leg.
  4. Toe raises: Sit with your feet on the ground and lift your toes off the ground, then lower them back down. Repeat this exercise several times
  5. Theraband exercises: Theraband exercises such as ankle eversion, inversion, dorsiflexion and plantar flexion can help to improve ankle strength and flexibility.

Yoga

Yoga can be beneficial for reducing ankle pain and swelling as it helps to improve flexibility, strength, and balance in the ankle and surrounding muscles. Here are a few yoga poses that may help:

  1. Virasana (Hero Pose): This pose stretches the ankle and knee joints and strengthens the thigh muscles. Sit on your shins and place a cushion or folded blanket under your hips for support.
  2. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose): This pose strengthens the ankle and improves balance. Stand on one foot, bend the knee of the other leg, and place the foot on the inner thigh of the standing leg.
  3. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend): This pose stretches the back of the ankle and calf muscles. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and fold forward at the hips, keeping your knees slightly bent.
  4. Dandasana (Staff Pose): This pose strengthens the ankle and improves balance. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, and place your hands on the floor beside your hips.
  5. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated Twist): This pose stretches the ankle and improves flexibility in the knee. Sit with your legs extended in front of you and cross one ankle over the opposite knee.

Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medication

OTC drugs such as NSAIDs and pain relievers can help reduce swelling and pain to a great extent. However, it would be best to consult a doctor before consuming any of the OTC drugs.

Orthopaedic Shoes and Ankle Braces

In order to support the ankle, one can opt for orthopaedic shoes. Being an effective non-surgical method to reduce ankle pain, it helps realign the joints by bringing down the stiffness. Alternatively, one can also pick ankle braces that can be worn with shoes. This is known to come in different sizes to suit the particular needs of a patient.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be an effective treatment option for reducing ankle pain and swelling. A physical therapist can help to design a personalised treatment plan that may include the following:

  1. Manual Therapy: Techniques such as soft tissue mobilisation, joint mobilisation, and stretching can help to reduce pain and improve mobility in the ankle.
  2. Therapeutic exercises: The therapist will design a program to improve ankle strength, flexibility, and balance.
  3. Ultrasound or electrical stimulation: These modalities can help to reduce pain and inflammation by increasing blood flow to the area.
  4. Gait analysis and training: The therapist may analyze your walking pattern and teach you how to walk and move to reduce stress on your ankle properly.

Surgical Treatment to Reduce Ankle Pain and Swelling

Surgical treatment may be recommended for some cases of ankle pain and swelling, particularly if the condition is severe or caused by a structural problem. Some examples of surgical procedures that may be used to reduce ankle pain and swelling include:

  1. Joint Aspiration: Joint aspiration, also known as arthrocentesis, is a procedure that involves removing fluid from a joint using a needle and syringe. This procedure can be used to reduce pain and swelling in the ankle joint.
  2. Ankle arthroscopy: This is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a small camera to visualise the inside of the ankle joint and remove any damaged or inflamed tissue.
  3. Ankle fusion: This procedure involves fusing the bones of the ankle joint together to reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis or other conditions.
  4. Ankle joint replacement: This procedure involves replacing the damaged ankle joint with an artificial joint to reduce pain and improve function.

Preventive Measures for Ankle Pain and Swelling

Generally, you cannot always prevent ankle pain and swelling. However, it is possible to keep your bones and muscles in good health. Below-mentioned are some preventive measures that can help to reduce the risk of ankle pain and swelling:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight: Carrying extra weight puts extra stress on the ankles, which can lead to pain and swelling.
  2. Stretch before and after exercise: Stretching can help to warm up the muscles and improve flexibility, which can help to reduce the risk of injury.
  3. Avoid high-impact activities: Activities that put a lot of stress on the ankle, such as running on hard surfaces, can increase the risk of injury.
  4. Take care of your overall health: Keep your overall health in check, maintain a balanced diet, and avoid smoking, these will help to prevent chronic conditions that can affect the ankles.
  5. Stop if the pain becomes severe: You should stop doing exercise or yoga if the severity of the pain increases.

When to Consult a Doctor?

Any foot pain can become more than a temporary issue if not treated the right way. If the pain does not improve within the first few days, consult the doctor or a foot care specialist and know how to reduce ankle pain quickly. A patient must consider visiting a doctor if they relate to any of the following situations:

  1. The discomfort is increasing.
  2. After two weeks of self-care, the problem persists.
  3. Have sores that will not heal.
  4. The skin tone changes, especially if it turns dark blue or black.
  5. The foot has swollen or changed shape.
  6. Have a high fever or a feeling of heat and chills.
  7. You may have an infection if the skin is red, hot, or swollen.

Takeaway

It is vital to understand how to reduce ankle pain and reduce swelling faster. There are several safe and effective ways to get rid of ankle pain. Non-surgical methods such as the RICE technique, OTC medications, yoga asanas, physical therapy, etc., can be considered for mild to moderate pains and surgical methods such as joint aspiration or ankle joint replacement is recommended by the doctor for severe pain. Additionally, an adequate amount of a healthy lifestyle can also contribute to effective healing, along with preventing the chances of ankle pains. 

If you or your loved one is looking for how to get rid of ankle pain, turn to HexaHealth. Our expert team of doctors can provide you with the best-in-class treatment methods to get rid of ankle pain after diagnosing the severity of the pain. Also, with our large network of hospitals, we ensure that you get the most seamless healthcare experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to reduce ankle pain?

Some of the remedies to reduce ankle pain include R.I.C.E therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) as it helps to reduce inflammation and pain, also you can take over-the-counter pain relief medication such NSAIDs and pain relivers to help with pain and swelling. It's important to consult with a doctor if the pain persists or if the swelling is caused by an injury.

What is the fastest way to heal a swollen ankle?

Rest for a few days before beginning gentle strengthening exercises. Continue any activity that appears to aggravate the symptoms. Your doctor or physical therapist can help you understand the types of exercise that may benefit you and explore how to get rid of ankle pain. 

Why is my ankle so painful and swollen?

The most frequent causes are accidents, arthritic conditions, and regular wear and tear. Depending on the grounds, the patient may experience pain or stiffness anywhere around the ankle. The ankle may also swell, and the patient may be unable to bear weight on it.

How to get rid of ankle pain?

The solution to get rid of ankle pain depends on the underlying cause of the pain. Some of the solutions for ankle pain include R.I.C.E technique, OTC medications, physical therapy, yoga, or surgical procedures.

Does walking help swollen ankles?

Walking is the most effective weapon in the fight against swollen legs. Getting the legs moving improves circulation, sweeping up and shifting the collected fluid.

Why won't my ankle swelling go down?

Ankle swelling that does not go down can be caused by a variety of factors. Some possible causes include: chronic conditions such as arthritis, gout, or tendonitis; lymphatic obstruction, Injury or trauma, lack of physical activity, or other medical conditions such as heart or kidney disease.

How do you reduce swelling quickly?

To reduce swelling quickly, apply cold to the affected area by the use of ice packs, cold therapy machines, ice baths, or cryotherapy chambers. Apply cold frequently throughout the day for 20 to 30 minutes, particularly in the initial days following an injury.

How do you get rid of swelling fast?

There are several methods to reduce swelling quickly. Some of these include clod therapy, elevation, compression, movement and medications.

How do you get rid of fluid on the ankle?

Patients must raise their legs or the swollen area to enhance blood flow which eventually helps to get rid of the fluid on the ankle. One can also gently massage the area to promote fluid movement. 

What causes fluid in the ankle joint?

The abnormal buildup of fluid in the body is known as oedema. Oedema is frequently brought on by prolonged standing or sitting, pregnancy, being overweight, and ageing. The feet and ankles are frequently affected by oedema because the gravitational effect makes swelling more noticeable there.

Will water pills help with swollen ankles?

Water pills, also known as diuretics, can help reduce swelling in the ankles caused by excess fluid buildup (edema). They work by increasing the amount of urine produced by the kidneys, which helps to remove excess fluids from the body. However, it's important to note that water pills can have side effects and should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

How can you tell if the ankle is swollen and the heart is related?

Swelling in the ankles, also known as peripheral oedema, can be a symptom of heart-related conditions such as heart failure. Some signs that may indicate the swelling in the ankles is related to a heart condition:

  1. The swelling tends to be symmetrical, affecting both ankles equally.
  2. The swelling is worse at the end of the day, or when you've been standing or sitting for long periods of time.
  3. Other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or fatigue, are present.
  4. The swelling persists, or worsens despite the use of diuretics or elevation of the legs.

Do swollen ankles mean heart failure?

Congestive heart failure can also be the cause of ankle swelling. Your legs, ankles, and feet might become swollen due to blood pooling there. If you have congestive heart failure, one or both of the lower heart chambers lose their ability to pump blood effectively.

Why is only one ankle swollen?

Blood vessel blockage, lymphatic blockage, or trauma from an injury can all result in swollen feet. Other factors that can cause one foot to swell include skin conditions like cellulitis or ankle arthritis, which can also result in one-foot swelling in the ankle.

What medications can cause swollen ankles?

Certain medications can give rise to puffy ankles. These may include calcium channel blockers, steroids, anti-depressants or anti-psychotics, and  blood-pressure medications.

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HexaHealth Care Team

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