Ankle tendinitis involves momentary inflammation of the tendons surrounding the ankle joint. The tendons are described as fiber-like tissues that connect muscle to bone and allow joint movement.
When ankle tendinitis is suspected, it usually develops due to strenuous use of the joint or sustaining an ankle injury such as a sprain. Swelling and pain are the usual symptoms. There are different treatment options that focus on reducing the pain and inflammation as well as improving the function of the ankle.
The presence of swelling along the inflamed tendon is a typical symptom of ankle tendinitis. Nevertheless, it might not be evident initially. It is important to note that the swelling is likely to increase if treatment is not started to control the inflammation. Even though the swelling is typically located in the area of the swollen tendon, it can also occur in the neighboring tissues of the ankle.
Pain and tenderness
Always bear in mind that ankle tendinitis can cause pain that can manifest in the front, back or sides of the ankle depending on the tendons involved. The pain increases with activity that places strain on the inflamed tendon. The pain is also intense upon getting out of the bed in the morning. Applying pressure on the inflamed tendon can also trigger pain.
Self-care for the symptoms of ankle tendinitis can be started by following the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). The individual should allow the feet to rest as much as possible such as running and jumping to allow the inflammation to resolve.
Apply an ice pack on the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time several times throughout the day during the initial days to minimize the swelling and pain. An elastic ankle wrap can be used to gently compress the ankle to reduce the swelling and pain. In addition, elevating the ankle helps minimize the swelling and pain.
There are over-the-counter pain medications such as naproxen or ibuprofen that can be given to minimize the inflammation in the tendon. These medications reduce the pain and swelling due to ankle tendinitis. If in doubt, consult a doctor to ensure that these medications can be safely taken.
Gentle stretching exercises focused on the ankles and calf muscles are also beneficial. With the help of these exercises, the ankle joint is strengthened while maintaining its flexibility and minimizing the stiffness. Nevertheless, do not exercise if pain in the ankle is triggered since this will only cause further damage the inflamed tendon.
When to seek medical care
In case the ankle pain does not subside within a few days with self-care measures, a doctor should be consulted so that proper assessment can be carried out and appropriate treatment is started.
If the individual experiences intense ankle pain, difficulty in bearing weight or moving the affected ankle or the foot turns pale, cold or numb, a doctor should be consulted. Remember that these are indications of a serious ankle injury.