There can be many different causes of ankle pain, ranging from an ankle sprain or fracture to chronic conditions such as arthritis. The degree of the ankle pain can vary and it can come on suddenly or slowly over time. The ankle joint consists of bones, muscles, cartilage, and tissues called ligaments and tendons. Any injury or disease that were to affect these structures, could very well lead to ankle pain. Some causes of ankle pain include sprains, tendonitis, arthritis and a bruise or break of the bone. It is important to know that you should visit a doctor if there is an inability to bend the ankle, swelling of the joint, signs of an infection, an inability to walk comfortably on the affected side and if you have ankle pain that occurs at night or while resting. Ankle pain can be diagnosed with an X-ray, medical exam or thorough physical examination. The RICE protocol is a 4-step process in which you may be able to treat your injury from the comfort of your own home. The first step is to rest. This will allow for the joint to relax and for any inflammation to subside. The next step is to ice. Ice should be applied at least 3 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes. This will allow for any swelling to go down and it will also soothe the pain. The third step is to add compression. Compression bandages, such as an ACE wrap will help support and immobilize the ankle joint. Be sure not to add too much compression as this can lead to numbness, tingling and swelling at the site of the pain. The final step is to elevate the ankle. Raising the ankle above the level of the heart, by way of propping your foot up on pillows, will help reduce any swelling for the first couple days after the injury has occurred. If you are suffering from any ankle pain, visit your podiatrist to see what treatment may be right for you.
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