Why is My Ankle Red, Swollen and Hot?

Why is My Ankle Red, Swollen and Hot?
Pain and Inflammation: 101

Last Facebook feed, we defined pain and why you need pain to
signal something’s wrong in your body. So what is this redness,
swelling and heat that accompanies your pain and how do you
control and treat it to speed your recovery?

Inflammation is a response to a particular insult to your body and
tissue. Let me give you one example…

Ana, our salsa dancer, rehearsing twice a day, is completing a
final turn on tired legs and twists her ankle. Immediately, the side
of her ankle blows up like a big, red, hot balloon. This is Ana’s
body’s reaction to being injured.

Through chemical messaging, blood vessels expand to send in
plasma and leukocytes (white blood cells) helpers to clean up the
mess fight infections, help defend the body from diseases, and
protect the body against harmful bacteria.

The increased blood is what creates the warmth and redness in
Ana’s ankle. Blood vessels become permeable and allow other
helpers to be released directly to the injured tissue. This is why
this location swells, from the extra fluid “leaking” or emigrating
out of the blood vessels. Another chemical helper (bradykinin) is
released, increasing pain sensitivity at the site of the injury and
discourages use of the injured area.

You can see, after an injury like Ana’s ankle sprain, how and
why the body reacts to the insult. Pain and inflammation are part
of your body’s natural healing process, but we don’t want that
swelling to linger. Let’s see what we can do to facilitate decreased
swelling and speed up the recovery…

Brooklyn Body Works
Physical Therapy

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