Foot and ankle pain can be caused by any number of things, or it can be a symptom of a severe illness or disorder. If you are experiencing foot and ankle pain, you may want to see your family physician before you see a podiatrist or other specialist. He or she can rule out some of the following conditions and make sure your pain is not a sign of illness or disorder located somewhere else in your body.
Foot Pain and Diabetic Neuropathy
There are so many people in the U.S. currently living with diabetes and they do not know it. If you are experiencing a constant sensation of walking on pins and needles, this may be a sign that you have diabetes and diabetic neuropathy. A simple fasting glucose test at your doctor's office will tell you if your foot pain is a direct result of diabetes. It will also help you get and start the treatments you need for the disease and provide relief for your foot pain.
Foot and Ankle Pain and Sciatica
Sciatica develops as a result of compression on the sciatic nerve, which is located in the small of your back and runs down in two channels to your ankles and feet. If you are also experiencing some back pain and hip pain with your foot and ankle pain, you may have sciatica. Your doctor will probably refer you to a chiropractor, if you are not seeing a chiropractor already. The chiropractor can help you with pain related to sciatica, but only if you share with him or her the fact that you experience pain all the way down one or both of your legs from the small of your back. If your chiropractor is only treating your lower back pain and does not know that you have pain in your feet and ankles, he or she cannot provide the proper adjustments that could alleviate all of your symptoms.
Ankle Pain and Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis can attack any bone in the human body, although it prefers the bones that are in constant motion. Osteoarthritis in ankles and feet will first present with pain, then increasingly get worse with time. Frequently you will experience swelling around the ankles along with pain and a sort of hot sensation. If redness also accompanies the pain and swelling, you will need to see a rheumatologist to treat the problem. He or she may require that you sit with your feet up and with ice packs or heat packs to reduce some swelling (although ice packs will probably feel better if you have hot-to-the-touch areas). Anti-inflammatory medicines and corticosteroids are also commonly prescribed, as are prescription footwear from your podiatrist.
To learn more, contact a podiatrist like Advanced Foot & Ankle Center of Palatine.