Inflammation is the body’s normal protective response to an injury, irritation, or surgery. This natural “defense” process brings increased blood flow to the area, resulting in an accumulation of fluid. As the body mounts this protective response, the symptoms of inflammation develop. These include:
Inflammation can be acute or chronic. When it is acute, it occurs as an immediate response to trauma (an injury or surgery)-usually within two hours. When it is chronic, the inflammation reflects an ongoing response to a longer-term medical condition, such as arthritis.
Inflammation is not the same as infection. Infections are caused by bacteria, fungus, and viruses, and infections sometimes produce inflammation. However, infection and inflammation are treated very differently. Your foot and ankle surgeon can best determine the cause of your inflamed tissue.
To reduce inflammation and the resulting swelling and pain, injured tissue needs to be properly treated. The earlier you start treatment, the better.