When ankles hurt and swell, is the problem one to take to a podiatrist?

Q: I’m a 33 year-old female and my left ankle suddenly started to hurt badly. I couldn’t touch the area as it became too tender, and it got too difficult to walk.
I put an ice pack on the area, rubbed in some balm, took a painkiller and slept with my foot elevated and the pain was much better the next day, but it still hurts when I try standing on my toes, but the pain is manageable. But by the end of the day, I’ve noticed the ankle is swollen.
Should I be worried? Should I visit my doctor, or wait a few days and see if it gets better? Does this sound like something serious?

A: This orthopedic podiatrist located in Chicago’s West Loop (60661,) Roscoe Village (60618,) Elmhurst (60126) and Bartlett (60103) says…
Assuming the ankle pain is only localized, it sounds like it might be ankle arthritis (perhaps gout.) If that’s what it is and it’s not something more serious, healing time should be roughly one to two weeks.
If it continues as it is, then you can wait it out. But if the pain gets worse or does not improve, then go see a podiatrist – a general practice physician likely will not know as quickly how to solve the problem and may refer you to a foot and ankle specialist anyway.
On the other hand, a podiatrist, like those in our office, can usually can diagnose and take care of the problem during your visit and offer a no-wait X-ray.
In the meantime, try PRICE:

Protect — Wear a brace around the ankle and limit the movements that aggravate it.

Rest – This speaks for itself. Perhaps try resting it during the weekend or days when you are off work.

Ice – This will help if the ankle is painful. This should also work to relieve the swelling.

Compress – Do this by using an Ace wrap or an ankle sleeve on the foot that’s bothering you.

Elevate – Doing this should help if the ankle throbs or swells at the end of the day.

Also, continue with the anti-inflammatories for a few days as directed.
For more information, visit thinkfeet.com! I hope this helps. Good Luck!

Ankle N Foot Center docs & staff

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