Foot and Ankle Pain: How to Determine the Cause

legsWe place a heavy burden on our feet and ankles, both literally and figuratively. Not only do they actually bear the entire weight of our bodies every time we stand erect, but we also rely on them to move us from one place to another. So when our lowest extremities start to hurt, it’s a problem we need solved, like, yesterday if we want to continue our regularly scheduled lives. Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as a simple sprain that leaves us laid up for a couple of days before it starts to heal and feel better. You might not know why you are suffering from foot and/or ankle pain or what will help to improve your condition. In this case you’ll have to go through a series of steps (so to speak) to determine why you’re in pain. Here are a few tips to help you suss out the root of your problem.

The first thing you might want to do is talk to your physician to request a recommendation for a podiatrist in your area. While your regular doctor may or may not have some insight into your condition after years of treating you for other disorders, a podiatrist is specially trained to deal with issues concerning feet and ankles, so his/her expertise will no doubt come in handy for diagnosis and treatment. However, you may have to answer a battery of questions about your lifestyle and recent incidents, so come prepared.

runninThere are any number of diseases, conditions, and injuries that could affect your feet and ankles, so a doctor will probably want to know if you are active. If the pain came on suddenly, perhaps it was due to an injury sustained during jogging, sports, or weight training. You might not have noticed at the time, or you may have felt only a slight twinge that later developed into full-blown pain. So expect to answer questions about recent activities. Even a small slip on the stairs could be to blame. However, it could also be related to your diet. If, for example, you are on a dairy-free diet, you might not be getting enough calcium to support healthy bones, leading to stress fractures in the part of your body that bears the most weight. Or perhaps you are overweight and the strain on your lower extremities is simply too much. On the other hand, you could just be swollen and tender because you’re on your feet all day for your work. You won’t know until you discuss your lifestyle with a specialist.

These conditions might not sound like much fun, but all are fairly easy to treat. Unfortunately, the cause of your foot and ankle pain could be something much worse. You might be dealing with some type of arthritis, a condition that tends to be more prevalent as we age. Even worse, it could be some type of cancer. You just don’t know. And until you get it checked out, you can’t begin to treat the condition. So whether you head to the advanced foot and ankle institute of Georgia or you seek out a specialist closer to home, your first step should be to make an appointment with a medical professional that can get to the bottom of your foot and ankle pain and get you back on track.