Good ankle tendonitis treatment can help you recover more quickly and prevent complications. Below, you’ll find 6 ways you can treat this painful condition. 

Tendonitis is inflammation around a tendon. It’s one of the most common causes of foot or ankle pain. Tendons are strong, cord-like bands of connective tissue that anchor muscles to bone. Ankle tendonitis can affect any of the tendons in the foot and is usually caused by overuse or injury. It can result in conditions such as Achilles Tendonitis and Extensor Tendonitis.

The symptoms of ankle tendonitis vary depending on the location, severity, and stage of the tendonitis. Common symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Recovery tends to be slow. On average, it can take two to three months to recover, but without proper treatment, recovery can take longer.  Below, are some things you can do to aid recovery.

Ankle Tendonitis Treatment

1. Rest

With any type of ankle tendonitis, resting your foot is vital to prevent further damage and aid recovery.

  • When you first injure your ankle, limit your activity as much as possible. Avoid any activities that make the pain worse.
  • How long you need to rest depends on which tendon is affected, and how severely it’s damaged.
  • Prolonged rest can lead to long-term stiffness, so aim to gradually restart exercise as soon as the pain reduces.

 

2. Ice packs

Applying an ice pack to the affected area can help ease the pain and swelling.

  • For the first few days after the injury, apply an ice pack to your ankle.
  • Hold the ice pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes. Repeat this several times a day.
  • If you are using a bag of ice cubes or frozen vegetables, wrap it in a towel otherwise it may cause a cold burn.

3. Heat

While cold compresses and ice are helpful for swelling in the early days following an injury, applying heat, and alternating heat and cold in subsequent days can aid recovery. Use a heating pad or hot water bottle wrapped in a towel.

4. Painkillers

  • Mild pain can sometimes be treated with over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is also an anti-inflammatory. These drugs are available as tablets or capsules. Ibuprofen also comes as a gel which you can apply directly onto your painful ankle.
  • Before using any medication consult your doctor, check the leaflet and follow the instructions.
  • If the pain is severe, your doctor can prescribe stronger painkillers.

Corticosteroid injections

In severe cases, corticosteroids can be injected around injured tendons to reduce pain and inflammation. A maximum of three injections is usually recommended as frequent injections can cause side effects. These include weakening of the tendon which can increase the risk of it rupturing or tearing.

5. Support

  • It is important to keep your weight off your affected ankle. You can use crutches to help support your weight while walking and moving about.
  • Use a bandage, splint or ankle brace to help prevent your ankle from moving.

 

6. Exercises

  • When the pain has started to reduce, start doing some stretching and strengthening exercises. This will help stretch and strengthen the injured tendon and surrounding muscles.
  • You can also begin a special exercise program with a physical therapist. He/she can also advise you on ways to improve any problems with your posture that may have contributed to your injury.

 

When to Seek Medical Attention

If your symptoms are severe, or there is no improvement, you should seek medical attention. Your doctor will take your history and may order X-rays or MRI scans to determine whether you have a fracture, calcification, or a tendon rupture. These conditions require different treatment.

 

Prevention is better than Cure!

  • If you do sporting activities, you can help prevent tendonitis by doing foot and ankle stretching exercises before beginning the activity. Tight muscles put extra strain on your tendons.
  • When you start a new activity or sport, begin slowly and gradually increase the intensity and time spent doing it.
  • Wear appropriate footwear and don’t wear worn-out shoes.
  • Ankle tendonitis can also be caused by problems with your feet. If you frequently experience ankle tendonitis, a podiatric evaluation can help identify any foot abnormalities that may be causing it. Possible treatments for managing and preventing tendonitis include shoe recommendations, arch supports, orthotics, and prescription braces.

Ankle tendonitis is usually caused by overuse or injury. It can also be due to abnormalities in your feet. Symptoms vary depending on the location, severity, and stage of the tendonitis. Recovery can be slow and take a few months but with proper ankle tendonitis treatment, you can aid recovery and help prevent complications.

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