Patient Education

Ankle Pain

Ankles can be a pretty delicate part of the body. If youve ever stepped off of a curb and sprained your ankle, have twisted your ankle while skating, or live with chronic ankle pain like gout or arthritis, youre pretty aware of that fact.

Probably the most common type of ankle pain is a sprain, which is a stretching or tearing of the ligaments that connect bones together and move your ankle around. This tearing can occur when an ankle rolls over, either on the outside or the inside of the foot, thus stretching the ligaments more than they can bear. However, sprains arent the only type of injury that can result in ankle pain: fractures in the ankle bone might be the problem, or perhaps the ankle is unstable. Pain might be coming from gout (a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joint), arthritis, tendonitis (inflammation of tendons), tarsal tunnel syndrome (when nerves get compressed), misalignment of the bones of the foot, or an infection. Thats a lot of different causes to think about. Fortunately, your foot doctor is well-versed in ankle problems and will be able to determine what is causing your poor ankle such distress.

Symptoms

Ankle pain is often accompanied by inflammation in the area, which means that the ankle will likely appear puffy and swollen, reddened, and will feel warmer than skin in other areas. The pain is also likely to be more severe while standing on the ankle or moving it, although this is not always the case.

Treatment

Your podiatrist is the best person to determine treatment. However, using the RICE method (Rest, Ice,
Compression, Elevation) is likely to help the pain associated with inflammation. Your doctor may also prescribe or suggest anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or may give the area a shot of cortisone. Some ankle problems may require physical therapy, and some may require surgery.