Experiencing pain after a broken or fractured ankle is normal and can be part of the healing process. Depending on the location and severity of the fracture, some injuries may require surgery. Recovering from a broken or fractured ankle can take time. If the pain does not go away after a certain period of time, it can indicate a problem. Dr. Williams can evaluate your ankle pain to determine what options can help put you on the path to living pain-free.
Causes of Continued Pain After an Ankle Fracture
An ankle fracture can take a long time to heal. How long it takes depends on factors such as:
- The amount of damage done when the ankle was fractured
- Location of the fracture
- Type of fracture
For some people, an ankle fracture can take months to heal; in some cases, it can even take years to recover fully. If an ankle fracture requires surgery to repair, there can be complications that can cause continued pain. Even if the surgery to repair the fracture was considered successful, new issues can develop following the procedure.
A common cause of chronic pain after an ankle fracture is an issue with the nerves, such as:
- Nerve damage. Nerves could become damaged during the injury if they were stretched or torn, or nerves could be unintentionally cut or severed during a surgical procedure. Nerve damage can lead to pain.
- Nerve entrapment. Nerves can become trapped in tissue either during the injury or as a result of surgery. When nerves are trapped in scar tissue and the tissue hardens, pressure can be put on the nerves and cause pain.
Signs of a Nerve Problem
There are several symptoms that indicate there is a nerve problem after an ankle fracture. Chronic pain that lasts more than six months after surgery can be the result of damaged or injured nerves. This type of pain can be intense and prevent you from participating in your daily activities. Coming into contact with bedding or other objects can cause severe pain if a nerve is damaged.
In addition to continued pain that can be sharp or burning, other signs of a nerve problem include:
- Weakness in the ankle, feet, or toes
- Tingling sensation
Treatment Options for Ankle Pain
If you have continued pain that is worsening or not improving over time, or you have signs of a nerve problem, see a nerve specialist for an evaluation. Dr. Williams can diagnose the source of the pain, so the right treatment plan can be recommended.
Treatments for ankle pain due to nerve damage or entrapment may include a combination of conservative options such as:
- Medication. Anti-inflammatory medications can be used to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Ice. Applying ice to the ankle can reduce swelling and help nerves to heal. This can be done while resting and keeping the ankle elevated.
- Physical therapy. Strengthening and stretching the muscles in the ankle and foot can increase movement and flexibility in order to reduce pain.
- Custom orthotics. Orthotics can be worn inside the shoes to provide support and relieve pain.
A nerve specialist may recommend surgery if conservative methods are ineffective in relieving nerve pain after an ankle fracture. Surgery that can be performed to address a nerve condition includes:
- Nerve decompression
- Nerve resection
- Nerve reconstruction
Dr. Williams will evaluate the patient’s pain and determine what procedure will work best for the patient’s specific needs. He may also recommend revision surgery to correct an existing procedure.
Do You Need a Maryland Peripheral Nerve Specialist?
If you have continued pain after an ankle fracture, contact our office for an evaluation. Dr. Williams can create a treatment plan to help ease your pain and get you back to living pain-free as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online. Request a free copy of our guide, Chronic Pain After Ankle Surgery, on our website.