A sore ankle is a painful ankle joint where the pain may vary from mild to severe. Most of the time, this kind of soreness is accompanied by localized swelling. However, ankle pain without swelling may also occur. In some cases, the skin of the area may turn red and is warm and tender to touch. When the pain turns severe, you will not be able to stand on your feet or walk. Excessive swelling in the joint can even prevent turning of the ankle joint in any direction.
The ankle joint structure consists of three bones. Then there are ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves. When any of these structural components get injured due to some reasons, soreness can be felt in the ankle joint. You may get a sore ankle after standing for a long time as your entire bodyweight puts a lot of pressure on the joint for hours. Banging your feet against a hard surface during an accident can cause sore ankle. Besides, the ankle joint is susceptible to various other forms of injury. Ankle sprain is the most common form which occurs when the ankle joint gets twisted or pulled abnormally.
As a result, the ankle ligaments get stretched too much and tears develop on them. Sports activities, wearing of high-heeled shoes, walking on uneven surfaces are common causes that lead to spraining of the ankle. Overuse of the ankles during exercising or sports activities can cause inflammation in the tendons. As a result, soreness can be felt when you are on your feet or performing physically strenuous activities. People suffering from gout or arthritis, may experience pain, redness and swelling in the ankles.
How to Soothe a Sore Ankle?
Sore ankle often takes a lot of time to heal up. Therefore, you must start treating it as soon as possible. A few vital tips are given below:
You should give proper rest to the ankle. Resting does not mean just suspending all physically strenuous activities. Instead you must lie down and keep yourself off the feet completely for at least 2 days. When you have to walk, either take help from someone for support or use crutches. This will ease off maximum pressure from the ankle and it will get the scope to heal up.
A sore, swollen ankle should be rested at an elevated position above the level of the heart. Lie down on your back on a flat surface and place your feet on a pile of 2-3 cushions. This will increase blood flow to the feet and the swelling will subside.
Ice application is the best available remedy for soothing sore ankles. You should start applying it as soon as you feel the soreness. Wrap an ice cube in a thin piece of cloth and place it over the sore ankle for 10 minutes. This will numb the area and you will get the much-needed relief from pain. It will also control the swelling and speed up the healing process.
Heat application is another excellent way of relieving the painful symptoms. Take some warm water in a tub and add some Epsom salt to it. Now, soak your feet in this water for half an hour. Do not use this treatment as long as there is swelling in the feet as heat can aggravate inflammation.
You can use a compression bandage to give adequate support to the ankle joint when it is in unstable condition. This will compress the injury site and decrease the swelling. However, you must make sure that you do not wrap the bandage so tightly that the blood circulation to the area gets affected.
When you have ankle pain but no swelling, you can massage the area with your fingertips. This increases blood flow in the region and helps to get rid of the pain. Just take care that you do not put a lot of pressure as it will hurt you more.
As the pain subsides, try to stretch the ankles. Move your feet slowly from one side to another or if possible, rotate it. This will reduce the stiffness of the muscles, add to their flexibility and improve the mobility of the joint.
If you have a mild pain in the ankle joint and cannot afford a bed rest, then try to avoid standing on your feet for hours at a stretch. Take frequent breaks in between and sit down for some time. While sitting, stretch your legs at the front and place them on a footstool or a chair.
If after following these tips, you do not get desired results in two weeks, take an appointment with your doctor. If the soreness in ankle is accompanied by joint deformity, it could be a sign of dislocated ankle. You should not try to treat it at home as it is a serious issue. The tips on how to soothe a sore ankle is not going to work in this condition. Rather, your doctor will suggest the correct treatment method to set your ankle in the proper position. You may be advised to use braces till the time the injured ankle heals up completely.