The Problem with Chronic Ankle Pain after Big Injuries
Here in sunny Palm Desert, with the warmest winters just about anywhere in the West, now is the perfect time for outdoor exercise and activity. Whether you fancy sand volleyball, softball, cycling, swimming, team sports, or just going for a good walk, there’s nowhere better to be.
While year-round activity is great, it also means we see our fair share of injuries, including ankle fractures. If you’ve had one in the past you know that it’s not fun. Fortunately, broken feet and ankles heal completely and patients make full recoveries most of the time.
However, even if the original injury is treated correctly, chronic ankle pain can still occur weeks, years, or even decades after a big injury. The problems range from neurological damage to infections to joint discomfort. Here are some of the most common:
Compartment syndrome: Big injuries, especially those resulting from extreme impacts such as automobile crashes, can increase pressure within the compartments of the lower leg. Over time, that pressure causes muscles in the lower leg to become tense, tight, and painful.
Damage to nervous and/or circulatory system: Ankle injuries (and surgeries to correct them) can cause collateral damage to nerves and blood vessels. If you notice any reduction in blood flow or start to feel isolated or persistent numbness, seek help right away.
Post-traumatic arthritis: If your ankle break extended into your joint, it could lead to an early onset of ankle pain and stiffness from arthritis even many years after the original injury has healed. This is similar to osteoarthritis, or “wear-and-tear” arthritis, as the reconstructed joint may grind down faster than one that had never been injured in the first place.
If you’re suffering from chronic ankle pain long after an injury, or if you have a history of traumatic injury in your foot or ankle and the area suddenly hurts again, give Dr. Harvey Danciger, DPM, a call. Sometimes complications after a big injury are unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with the pain. Call (760) 568-0108 and set up an appointment today.
Photo credit: artur84 via freedigitalphotos.net
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