Ankle Pain



What is ankle pain?

The ankle is an intricate network of bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Strong enough to bear your body weight and enable you to move, your ankle can be prone to injury and pain. Ankle pain refers to any type of pain or discomfort in your ankles. You might feel the pain on the inside or outside of your ankle or along the Achilles tendon, which connects the muscles in your lower leg to your heel bone. Although mild ankle pain often responds well to home treatments, it can take time to resolve.

How common is ankle pain?

Ankle pain is extremely common. It can occur in patients in any gender at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Which signs and symptoms can ankle pain usually be associated with?

Related signs and symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruises
  • Redness


What causes ankle pain?

Causes of ankle pain can include:

  • A sprain is generally caused when the ankle rolls or twists so that the outside ankle moves toward the ground, tearing the ligaments of the ankle that hold the bones together. Rolling the ankle can also cause damage to the cartilage or tendons of your ankle.
  • Arthritis (specifically osteoarthritis). Arthritis can also cause ankle pain. Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints. Multiple types of arthritis can cause pain in the ankles, but osteoarthritis is the most common. Osteoarthritis is often caused by wear and tear on the joints. The older people are, the more likely they are to develop osteoarthritis. Septic arthritis is arthritis that is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. This can cause pain in the ankles, if the ankles are one of the areas infected.
  • Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in the body. This higher-than-normal concentration of uric acid (a by-product of the body’s normal breakdown of old cells) can deposit crystals in the joints, causing sharp pain. Pseudogout is a similar condition where calcium deposits build up in the joints.

Other possible causes include:

  • Nerve damage or injury, such as sciatica
  • Blocked blood vessels
  • Infection in the joint
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Achilles tendon rupture
  • Avulsion fracture
  • Broken foot
  • Bursitis (joint inflammation)
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Stress fractures
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome

The conditions mentioned above are some common causes of ankle pain. Consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for ankle pain?

There are many risk factors for ankle pain, such as:

  • Improper sports training
  • Carrying excess weight
  • Old age
  • Inappropriate footwear
  • A history of sprains or strains

Please consult with your doctor for further information.

When to see your doctor

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you or your loved one has any of the following:

  • Severe pain or swelling
  • An open wound or severe deformity
  • Signs of infection, such as redness, warmth and tenderness in the affected area or a fever greater than 37.8 C
  • Inability toput weight on your foot
  • Persistent swelling that doesn’t improve after two to five days of home treatment
  • Persistent pain that doesn’t improve after several weeks

On noticing one of these symptoms or having any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor to get the best solutions for your situation.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage ankle pain?

These following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with ankle pain:

  • Avoid putting weight on your ankle. Try to move as little as possible for the first few days. Use crutches or a cane if you have to walk or move.
  • Begin by putting a bag of ice on your ankle for at least 20 minutes at a time, with 90 minutes between icing sessions. Do this three to five times a day for three days after the injury. This helps reduce swelling and numb pain.
  • Wrap your injured ankle with an elastic bandage, like an ACE bandage. Don’t wrap it so tightly that your ankle becomes numb or that your toes turn blue.
  • Whenever possible, keep your ankle raised above heart level on a stack of pillows or other type of support structure.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications. Drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) can ease pain and aid healing.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for the best solutions.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: January 3, 2019 | Last Modified: January 3, 2019

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