What to Do If Your Foot or Ankle Hurts

There are over a hundred different muscles and tendons in your feet. There are almost 60 different bones and joints in your feet. It’s not surprising that in such a complex system, things can sometime go wrong. So, what can you do if your ankle or foot starts to hurt?

Identify the Source of Pain

According to the National Institutes of Health, not treating a pain in your foot could lead to long term disability and permanent damage. That’s why it’s essential that you quickly identify what’s causing the pain.

Is it a strained or twisted ankle? Was it a sudden impact? Make sure you look at your shoes as potential culprits. According to the Mayo Clinic, ill fitting shoes are the #1 cause of foot pain. If the pain is dull and comes on gradually over days, it may be because of your shoes.

Protect the Injured Area

The first step to treating any foot pain is to protect the injured area. This helps prevent the foot from getting injured again. Do this by applying a brace or splinter to the injured area to hold the foot in place. If the injury is small, like a stubbed toe, you can just use tape to hold the injured area still.

Once you’ve protected the injured area, stop moving it. Keep it as still as possible throughout the recovery. If possible, walk with one left, with crutches or with the help of railings. If you absolutely must put weight on the injured foot, try to put the weight as far away from the injured area possible.

Apply Ice, 4 to 5 Times a Day

Ice causes blood vessels to constrict. This in turn reduces swelling. Reduced swelling can help reduce the pain, as well as speed up the healing process. The earlier you can start applying ice, the faster the injury will heal. The first few hours after the injury are the most important.

Apply ice to the injured area for 20 to 30 minutes, 4 or 5 times a day. In between sessions, apply light pressure to the injured area. A wraparound bandage is an effective tool to apply continual light pressure.

Keep the Foot Raised

Keep your foot raised when you’re sitting. Try to keep the foot above heart level. This reduces the blood flow to the foot, which also helps reduce the pain.

Following these steps will help ease the recovery for most types of ankle pain. If the pain persists, or if it’s more serious than the conditions discussed here, see a doctor right away.

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