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Damaged ankle. Done with Xray and scan. Scan showing water in joint below the ankle. On painkillers. How to get relief from pain?

Jul 2013
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Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 2148 Questions
I damaged my ankle some time ago & have seen 3 doctors,I have had 3 lots of xrays,& 1 scan. None of the doctors have picked this type of injury & it was not until the scan showed water in the joint below the ankle that the cause of my pain was found.I was given pain killers & I am sure my leg is a lot worse & can only walk a very short distance with my cane. The pain goes up the back of my leg to the ham string. I have an appointment with a surgeon on Nov 28th. Am I wrong in trying to walk on it,can I reduce the pain some how,will I get arthritis. Thankyou
Posted Mon, 4 Nov 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 23 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Might be due to secondary arthritis in ankle.

Detailed Answer:
Hi, thanks for writing to XXXXXXX

Generally any inflamed tissue needs rest (by avoiding any activity that produces pain) for it to heal and recuperate.

I suspect the the formation of water (synovitis) in the ankle joint may be due arthritic changes (common at your age of 71 yrs) which might have been made worse by your previous ankle injury (as stated by you in the description). This is termed as Secondary degenerative arthritis, wherein an injury of an already arthritic joint will make the condition much worse.

The conservative management of the condition involves -

- It is important to rest the painful joint to allowed the injured soft tissues to properly heal.
- Apply ice to the painful area in the acute phase, and then after activities. Ice will help calm the inflammatory response and stimulate blood flow to the area.
- Oral anti-inflammatory medications (such as Aleve or Motrin) can help relieve symptoms of pain and also calm the inflammation.
- Use an Ankle binder or support which provides immobilization and stability during movements
- Keep your foot end elevated during resting time

An MRI scan of the involved joint will show up the amount of degeneration in the joint as well as the condition of the soft tissues around the joint.

Hope I have addressed your query. Happy to help further

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