Among the patients who come to Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, ankle pain is a common complaint. Fortunately, our doctors are well-prepared to diagnose and treat the vast majority of ankle pain ailments without surgery. Physiatrists who specialize in relieving pain and restoring function, we are compassionate as well as highly competent. Most of our patients report experiencing the warmth of our holistic approach on their very first visit.

For 25 years, we have helped patients throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties heal promptly and fully from acute injuries and successfully cope with the symptoms of chronic conditions. Our team of physiatrists combines traditional and complementary treatment methods to ensure the best possible results. If you are suffering from ankle pain, contact us to discuss your options with caring, skilled professionals.

Causes of Ankle Pain

Ankle pain can stem from a variety of sources; getting to the root cause of your ankle pain is the first step toward effective treatment. We keep an open mind when determining the cause of your problem, aware that there may be something unusual at play or that more than one cause may be contributing to your pain. Causes of ankle pain include:

Osteoarthritis: wear and tear of the ankle bones due to aging or injury

Inflammatory arthritis: autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis

Sprains: when ligaments are stretched or torn 

Strains: injuries to muscles or tendons

Fractures: breaks of ankle bones, often resulting from falls, impacts, or twists

Tendonitis: irritation and inflammation of the tendon, often due to overuse

Rupture of the Achilles tendon, the tendon that connects the heel bone to the lower leg

Gout: a condition that results from the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joint

Bursitis: inflammation of a bursa, one of the fluid-filled sacs that cushions the joint

Tarsal tunnel syndrome: compression of the posterior tibial nerve of the lower leg

Reasons for Ankle Injuries

Ankle injuries often occur during routine activities. Patients may trip and fall due to an uneven surface, a broken step, a slippery floor, or an unstable scatter rug and twist the ankle in an unnatural way. Car accidents in which a collision results in impact of the foot or leg can also result in ankle injuries. Other ankle injuries commonly occur during sports, especially sports involving jumping, running, and swift changes in direction, such as football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball.

Risk Factors for Ankle Pain

Certain factors increase the likelihood of experiencing ankle pain, among them:

  • Age: Older adults are more prone to arthritis and other degenerative conditions that may make them prone to mobility issues and falls.
  • Heavy-duty physical activity: Athletes and individuals engaged in high-impact sports face a higher risk of ankle injuries.
  • Previous injuries: A history of ankle injuries can lead to weakness in the area, chronic pain, and susceptibility to further injury.
  • Obesity: Excess weight puts additional strain on the ankle joints, increasing the risk of pain and injury.
  • Wearing footwear that is unsupportive, such as high heels or flip-flops makes falling or twisting an ankle more likely.
  • Occupational hazards: Jobs requiring prolonged standing, walking, or heavy lifting can contribute to ankle stress and pain.

Diagnosing Ankle Pain

Diagnosis is a critical step in effectively managing ankle pain. At LI Spine, we have a well-deserved reputation as excellent diagnosticians and use the most up-to-date diagnostic equipment available. Our diagnostic protocol may include some or all of the following:

  • Taking a comprehensive medical history including past injuries and surgeries, health conditions, medications, and symptoms
  • Performing a physical examination to assess the ankle’s range of motion, stability, and areas of tenderness
  • Administering imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT, MRI, or ultrasound scans
  • Administering laboratory tests, e.g. blood tests 
  • Diagnostic aspiration to examine synovial fluid from the affected joint
  • Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies to evaluate the way nerves control the muscles they impact

Self-Care for Ankle Pain

While getting professional medical care is necessary for acute, immobilizing, or ongoing ankle pain, certain self-care measures can be helpful temporarily. These include:

  • Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) to reduce pain and swelling
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to alleviate pain
  • Ankle braces or wraps to stabilize the ankle and prevent further injury
  • Supportive shoes to reduce stress on the ankle

We Offer a Broad Range of Treatments for Ankle Pain

Our treatment plans are tailored to meet each patient’s specific needs and are typically used in combination to accelerate the healing process:

  • Physical Therapy Strengthening and stretching exercises to improve mobility and reduce pain
  • Medication Anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids to manage pain and inflammation
  • Acupuncture To increase blood flow, reduce pain and inflammation, and hasten healing.
  • Recommended lifestyle modifications Weight management and activity restrictions to lessen the strain on the ankle
  • Bracing or casting — to give the injured ankle time to rest and heal
  • Use of assistive devices — e.g. canes or walking boots, to reduce stress on the ankle joint
  • Ultrasound-guided injections of a corticosteroid and analgesics to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) to increase blood flow and lessen pain and inflammation.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy —  to promote faster healing

Contact Our Experienced Ankle Pain Specialists Today

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we believe that healing is a collaborative process in which doctor and patient work as partners. For this reason, we are eager to have your input. We will not only answer your questions and address your concerns but honor your preferences. We know from long experience that ankle pain, like other musculoskeletal problems, responds best when the patient is fully onboard with the treatment plan. Contact us now so we can get you started on the path to renewed health.