How To Get Rid Of Pinched Nerve In Foot and Ankle?

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A pinched nerve in the ankle is basically a condition that is related to the foot pain. It may be severe or minor and may cause short-term or long-lasting issues, depending on the cause and many other governing factors.

In case you have a pinched nerve (also called nerve compression), your body sends warning signs like pain and irritation which need to be considered and treated as soon as possible.

The painful condition usually occurs due to the compressed or irritated nerve in the foot region. The sooner you get it diagnosed, the quicker it may be treated so that you do not get any further problems.

For diagnosing pinched nerve in the foot, athletes need to get a careful examination by an expert.

Electromyography is sometimes performed to substantiate the diagnosis of the pinched nerve and to determine the level of the damage which has been caused in the nerve.

In case the pinched nerve is felt in the foot region, then a CT scan or MRI test can be performed to know the real cause and for starting the treatment as soon as possible.

Based on diagnosis results and causes, treatment is to be followed further to let the patient feel better.

What Are The Symptoms?

The common symptoms of a pinched nerve in the foot are:

  • Pain in the compression area
  • Radicular pain like Sciatica
  • Tingling feel or numbness
  • Burning or electric sensation
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Feeling of weakness mainly after performing certain actions

It has been seen that these symptoms get worse when certain movements or activities are performed; like turning or twisting the ankle suddenly.

What Are The Common Causes?

A pinched nerve in ankle happens when there is a sudden pressure exerted on the nerve (mainly known as compression) by its surrounding tissues.

This compression may happen due to the repeated motions or due to the keeping of the body in a single position for a long period; like ankle bent during the sleep.

A pinched nerve is also common during working-out sessions, sporting, driving, at times like pregnancy, etc.

Generally, the nerves are most vulnerable at some places of the body where they travel through the narrow spaces and have soft tissues to guard them.

This nerve pressure happens when the nerve is compressed between the tissues like tendon, ligament, cartilage, muscles, and bone.

For instance, pressure or inflammation on the nerve ends may cause foot pain and may even lead to radiating pain from the foot to the leg causing sciatic nerve pain.

Pinched Nerve In Foot Vs Pulled Muscle

A pinched nerve is often referred to and used in place of pulled muscle by most of the individuals. However, it is important to understand that the pinched nerve and pulled muscle is not the same.

Although both of these conditions are caused due to the result of high-intensity exercises or sporting activities there is a difference between them.

Pulled muscles are much easier to get than as compared to the pinched nerve as it is caused due to the strenuous activity, bad posture while working out, overextended muscles after long hours of work, etc.

Pinched nerve, on the other hand, may also be caused without the strenuous activities.

The pain caused due to pulled muscles may last for several days whereas the pain due to the pinched nerve gets relaxed quickly, usually with few home remedies.

How To Fix A Pinched Nerve In Ankle or Foot?

The treatment for a pinched nerve in ankle varies from person to person based upon the symptoms and its causes.

A simple rest to the injured part may benefit a lot, while performing tough sports activities may surely worsen the problem.

If the signs of pain persist and get severe, then it is advised to consult a doctor immediately. Probably, you may require some specific treatment to minimize the problem of the compressed nerve.

Based on your problem your podiatrist may advise a few of these treatments for a pinched nerve in the ankle:

Ankle traction: Ankle traction relieves pressure on the pinched nerve and is very much beneficial for treating the pain caused due to these problems.

Using an ankle traction device at home (under proper supervision) is also helpful in reducing the weakness, pain and the numbness or discomfort associated with the pinched nerve.

The process helps in the relieving swollen and irritated nerves, thereby healing the nerves in your foot at a faster pace.

A soft brace or a splint which limits the ankle and foot motions and lets the muscles rest for a longer period can also prove much helpful in fighting pinched nerve problem.

When you use a brace for healing your ankle, it will immobilize the foot and provide complete support for getting the pain relief fast.

In case you had an injury in your foot region, using these braces for ankle ensures that the injury does not grow bigger by the movements. And this gives time for the injury to get healed over time when used regularly.

Muscle relaxers for a pinched nerve in the ankle are often prescribed by doctors to relieve agonizing episodes of pain. Muscles relaxers work differently than the normal drugs as it targets the central nervous system and brain.

These offer a calming effect on the body which helps to feel less or no pain at all. Above all these are not addictive like other muscle relaxants or pain relievers.

Consuming more calcium and potassium-rich foods can be the best solution for treating pinched nerve problem.

Lowering of calcium and potassium levels in the body is one major factor which triggers the risk of getting pinched nerve more often.

Taking an appropriate amount of calcium and potassium-rich foods and calcium supplements, on the other hand, promotes nerve health and lowers the chances of getting the pinched nerve.

Pain and inflammation relieving medications like injection or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are additionally used to reduce the pain and swelling caused due to a pinched nerve.

Make sure that you consult your doctor before trying them out and follow the dosage carefully as recommended by your physician. Also, check and know about the possible side effects of using them before trying.

In certain cases, surgery is advised when the problem does not respond to the drugs and other types of treatment options.

A pinched nerve in the ankle causing vertigo is many times relieved by surgical methods where the bone causing nerve compression is removed by the surgeon.

In addition to above, it is advised to try these home remedies for preventing and relieving a pinched nerve in the ankle:

  • A hot shower once or twice in a week
  • Getting a professional massage or using a handheld self massager
  • Taking enough rest and using best leg wedge pillow for easing pinched nerve
  • Lying flat with a rolled-up cloth or a towel placed under the ankle for maximum comfort

Ice Or Heat: What Should Be Used For Pinched Nerve?

Ice or heat therapy can be best used as first aid at home, for problems such as pinched nerves and pulled muscles.

Although both of these treatment methods are effective enough and are recommended for relieving the problems, it is best in your interest to know about which one will produce the most desiring results and pain relief.

Ice or cold pack is generally used for reducing the inflammation, swelling and discomfort caused due to a pinched nerve, by contacting the blood vessels and enhancing the circulation.

Whereas hot compress wraps provide the relaxation and pain relief to the muscles, blood vessels and nerves after the swelling are gone.

As hot and cold therapies respond differently, it is important that you use the best one that can help relieve the pinched nerve pain.

Many people find combining both of these therapies useful in curing the pinched nerve in the ankle.  Doctors, therefore, recommend that you try exploring both these treatment methods to find which one is best suited for you.

Just make sure that you try the cold compress (in case swelling exists) first and then the hot one for relaxing.

The ultimate goal should be to fix the problem and find relief. You can, therefore, try one or the combination of both these methods.

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