5 Foot And Ankle Symptoms You Should Not Ignore

By: Tim Wall, MS, ATC

Read this article to learn more about Foot Anatomy. 

5 Foot and Ankle Symptoms You Should Not Ignore

Whether you are a runner, or simply walk through the grocery every week, ankle and foot problems can change your life.  Everyone has an ache or pain here and there, but these are 5 ankle and foot symptoms you should not ignore.

  1. Tenderness
  2. Feeling a "pop" with immediate pain 
  3. Swelling or Bruising
  4. Difficulty standing or walking  
  5. Excessive redness or open skin

If you have any of these symptoms, don’t ignore them.  To learn why, read on.

To see a JOI foot and ankle specialist, click here: SCHEDULE NOW.

#1: Tenderness in the Foot and Ankle

5 foot and ankle symptoms you should not ignore5 foot and ankle symptoms you should not ignore

Tenderness in the foot or ankle can be a sign of inflammation.  This means that something is injured and the body is trying to heal it.  But, tenderness can be a sign of a serious ankle and foot problem as well.  Usually, tenderness occurs over the area of an injury.  If it lasts more than a few days, it may be a sign of a bigger issue. 

If the foot and ankle are tender to the touch, and there is swelling, this can be a sign of a strain or a sprain. 

#2 Feeling a "POP" with Immediate Pain

A pop in the ankle with swelling can be a sign of a sprain or strain.  Image of ankle anatomy

If you have ever "rolled" your ankle, you know what this feels like.  A pop in the ankle can happen when fibers of a ligament or tendon tear.  This is usually followed by swelling in the area. These are symptoms of a sprain or strain in the ankle. 

The most common type of ankle injury is an inversion sprain.  This is when the ankle rolls inward and there is tearing in at least one ligament.  The first ligament to tear is usually the ATFL or Anterior Talofibular Ligament. The Calcaneofibular Ligament is also common to tear in an inversion sprain.  

Strains and Sprains have different grades of severity based on the amount of movement and laxity there is in the joint after the injury.  Only a skilled medical professional can determine the grade or severity of a sprain or strain. 

Feeling a pop can also be a sign of a fracture in one or more bones in the ankle or foot. A fracture usually makes it difficult and painful to walk.  This is not always the case with a sprain. 

If you would like to learn more about Ankle Sprains, watch this VIDEO.

#3 Bruising or Swelling in the Foot and Ankle

Bruising and swelling are a sign of tissue damage in the foot and ankleImage of and ankle and foot with bruising and swelling

Bruising and swelling is a sign that there is damage to a ligament, tendon, muscle, or bone in the ankle or foot. When there is damage to tissue, there may be a flood of fluids and blood in the area. This is part of the inflammatory response to the injury.  

Bruising and swelling can be more serious in people with vascular disease or congestive heart failure. These conditions can affect how the fluid is flushed from the area.

Typically, compression wraps, ice, and elevation can help with bruising and swelling.  But if there is a fracture or broken bone causing the swelling, you may have to have a cast or boot. There may be limited weight bearing for several weeks as well. If surgery is needed, this process may be longer. 

#4 Difficulty Standing or Walking

Difficulty standing or walking due to foot or ankle pain is one of the most telling signs that you need to see a doctor.  If you cannot place weight on the ankle or foot, there may be a fracture or break in one of the bones in the ankle or foot.  There are a lot of bones in this area, some are large and some are small.  A skilled physician or orthopedic surgeon will likely take an X-ray to see if there is a fracture or some sort of displacement of the bones.  

Severe tendon or ligament injuries can also cause limited standing tolerance.  These injuries may require an MRI to diagnose them.  Continuing to try to stand on these types of injuries can make them worse and make them heal slower.  It is important to seek care quickly in these cases. 

#5 Excessive Redness or Open Skin

Excessive swelling, redness, or open skin can be a sign of infection.Image of open skin on feet

If the ankle and foot have excessive redness, it can be a sign of an underlying infection. In some cases, the skin may begin to open and drain.  This may be a serious medical emergency and should be evaluated and treated quickly.

People with limited sensation in their feet should inspect their feet daily to make sure that there are no open areas.  Open skin that goes undetected can lead to infection and can become a major problem. People with diabetic neuropathy are advised to avoid wearing open shoes to help protect their feet.

What Do JOI Foot and Ankle Experts Want Me to Know?

Dr. Hiram Carrasquillo wants you to know that "swelling and pain that gets worse with walking can be a sign of a stress fracture."  Do not wait to come in for an exam.

Dr. J. Turner Vosseller says that you should pay attention if you have "Achilles Tendon pain that gets worse with activity or pain in the top of the foot that gets worse with standing."  Both of these can be a sign of a more serious orthopedic issue.   

What Are Common Foot and Ankle Problems?

The quick answer is that the foot and ankle are complex and there are many parts that can develop problems.  Here are some of them:

If you would like to learn more about Plantar Fasciitis, this VIDEO may help.

What if I Have 1 of the 5 Foot and Ankle Symptoms that You Should Not Ignore?

If you have any of the 5 foot and ankle symptoms that you should not ignore, the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute is here to help. JOI has the top Board Certified Foot and Ankle Specialists in Northeast Florida. With 5 Physician's Office locations and Telemedicine appointments available, the answer to your foot and ankle problems have never been closer.  We also offer ASAP Injury and Fracture appointments to get you in quickly.

For physical therapy appointments, please call JOI Rehab at 904-858-7045.

Related Foot and Ankle Articles:

JOI and JOI Rehab

JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is an option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments.  Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

 New: You can now make follow-up and cancel physician appointments through the JOI Patient Portal. 

To Schedule an appointment with a JOI Foot & Ankle Specialist, Call 904-JOI-2000schedule online, or click the link below.



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