- Your Ankle Pain May Also be Known as:
- Aches and pains in ankle
- Aches and pains in leg
- Ankle ache
- Ankle discomfort
- Ankle hurts
- Ankle is painful
- Ankle soreness
- He hurt his ankle
- He hurt his leg
Ankle Pain Symptoms
You love your morning jogs. Watching the sun rise as the wind blows through your hair seems to center you for the day. But one day, your foot lands strangely, slips out from under you, and you're stuck on the sidewalk with an ankle that's just not right.
Are you rankled by ankle pain symptoms? Ankle pain can be felt on the inner side of the ankle, on the outer area, in line with the Achilles tendon, and sometimes radiating near the upper part of the foot.
Common ankle pain symptoms vary from occasional aches to severe pain and include:
- Burning pain in the ankle while walking, jogging, and running
- Swelling of the ankle
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Inability to bear weight on the ankle
The ankle is a tricky little thing. It also bears plenty of your body's weight. Its health and ability to function are crucial to everyday activities and comfort.
The ankle is an important joint, connecting the lower leg bones to the foot bones. It is divided into the lower ankle and upper ankle. The lower ankle allows your foot to tilt to the side and turn outwards and inwards. The upper ankle lets you move your feet up and down.
Whether you injure the joint, a bone, the upper ankle, or the lower, the associated pain can literally stop you in your tracks. Most causes of ankle pain are treatable though. With a little time, you can be back to your normal activities.
Ankle Pain Causes Overview
Causes of ankle pain can be broken down into two main categories -- injuries or trauma and medical conditions, including infection. Listed below are the most common ankle pain causes.
Injury or trauma-related ankle pain causes:
- Sprains, strains, and fractures: These are the most commonly reported causes of ankle pain. Any of these can happen if one suddenly changes his or her position when moving. Accidents can likewise be a culprit. Falling or colliding with another individual or objects can injure your ankle. Athletes are more prone to this cause.
- Rupture of the Achilles tendon: A damage in the Achilles tendon due to stressful activities can cause severe pain in the ankle. There is also an inability to move the toes and walk.
Medical ankle pain causes:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: This chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease of the joints commonly affects the ankle. The immune system attacks the synovium, which acts as a protective membrane lining the joints. This causes severe inflammation and pain.
- Gout: An increased uric acid level in the body will cause a deposition of crystals in the joint. This is very painful.
- Infection: Bacterial joint inflammation is a serious condition and causes severe pain in the ankle joint. This is often referred to as septic arthritis. Bacteria gets into the joint and causes severe cartilage destruction and bone damage. If not treated, it can lead to septic shock.
Whether you're incredibly active or spend most nights on the couch, an ankle injury can happen to anyone. If you find yourself with an ankle that's not cooperating, it's time to look into treatments.
Top 3 Ankle Pain Causes
Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and tissues underneath it. It is most commonly caused by Group A strep and typically enters the body through a break in the skin.
You should go to your primary care doctor tomorrow. There, he or she will inspect your skin and determine if antibiotics are necessary.
- Top Symptoms:
- fever, ankle redness, ankle pain, painful ankle swelling, recent ankle injury
- Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
- ankle redness
- Primary care doctor
Ankle Pain Checker
Take a quiz to find out why you’re having ankle pain.Take a quiz
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in your joints. It can affect any joint but is common in the wrist and fingers. RA is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that it is caused by the immune system incorrectly attacking the joints when it shouldn't.
You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate care with a specialist. RA is a complex disease, which can require prescription medication to help slow down the damage to your joints, as well as pain killers such as ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Anaprox and Naprosyn). Exercise, especially swimming, can also help with pain and stiffness.
- Top Symptoms:
- fatigue, depressed mood, muscle aches, joint pain, daytime sleepiness
- Primary care doctor
Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. Some people who have psoriasis also get a form of arthritis (inflammation and swelling of joints) called psoriatic arthritis.
You should visit your primary care physician to manage this disease as there are many treatment options. A treatment plan will often consist of therapy (physical, occupational, massage), patient education, exercise and rest, devices to protect joints, medicine and/or surgery.
- Top Symptoms:
- joint pain, lower back pain, shoulder pain, upper back pain, joint stiffness
- Primary care doctor
Ankle Pain Treatments and Relief
Mild ankle pain can be treated at home.
See a doctor if you're experiencing any of the following:
- Severe swelling
- Intense pain
- Open wounds
- Noticeable deformity
- Signs of infection
- Unable to put weight on affected foot
When managing ankle pain symptoms, consider both treatments and preventive measures. Both can help ease your pain.
Ankle pain treatments:
- RICE Method: If the pain is due to an injury, provide first aid to control the swelling and pain. R est the ankle. Put I ce on for about 20 minutes and repeat three times daily. C ompress the ankle, but not too tightly, by putting on an elastic bandage. E levate the ankle above the heart level.
- Medications: Ankle pain can be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, analgesics, and other OTC pain relievers.
- Devices: Crutches and walkers are helpful for mobility and rest.
- Therapy: Exercises facilitated by a physical therapist can help restore the ankle's strength and flexibility.
- Surgery: In severe cases, surgery can be necessary for the reconstruction of damaged ligaments and fractured bones.
Preventive measures for ankle pain:
- Watch your step closely when walking, particularly on uneven surfaces
- Warm up before doing any strenuous exercises or sports
- Avoid wearing high heeled shoes
- Exercise and stretch regularly
- Watch your weight
- Eat a balanced diet
Free yourself from ankle pain by knowing its symptoms, causes, and treatment. You'll be back on two healthy feet in no time.
FAQs About Ankle Pain
Here are some frequently asked questions about ankle pain.
Can bunions cause ankle pain?
Generally, bunions do not cause ankle pain. A bunion is a deformity of the big toe in which the toe is deformed outward and the joint protrudes inward. Studies have been performed on whether bunions are associated with any particular injury of the foot. While some authors have drawn those conclusions, it has not been conclusively proven. It is possible, however, that bunions affect balance which may lead to falls in the elderly.
What causes ankle pain without swelling?
Ankle pain without swelling can be caused by a stress fracture of an ankle bone or partial ligament tear causing instability of the ankle. Swelling is caused by traumatic damage to the cells of tissue within the body. As the contents of the cells spill out, they can cause the body to send in immune cells to clean and repair the wound. This requires swelling to "make space" for the immune cells.
Why would someone experience ankle pain while walking?
Ankle pain while walking may be due to swelling and an increase in inflammation following a mild injury to the ligaments, joints, or bones of the ankle. The most common of these conditions are ankle sprains (partial ruptures of a ligament), arthritis, or inflammation of the tendon (tendinitis).
Will insoles help relieve ankle pain?
This depends on the cause of ankle pain. If ankle pain is caused by an excessive motion of the foot (inversion, eversion, pronation, or supination) then an insole can take stress off the foot and decrease repetitive stress injury. Other causes of ankle pain include ankle fractures or sprains and plantar fasciitis. Ankle fractures need medical evaluation and stabilization to ensure strong healing. Plantar fasciitis is worsened by a flat shoe but can be improved significantly by stretching, avoiding flat shoes or barefoot walking, and silicone insoles.
Can ankle pain be related to back pain?
Yes, ankle, knee, and hip pain can all contribute independently to back pain. Each of the joints is designed to direct the force of gravity to another point on the next joint that is designed to bear the pressure. If one of the joints is out of alignment, the entire structure of bones and cartilage can suffer increased wear and tear — causing pain in the hips or back.
Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Ankle Pain
- Q.Is your ankle pain getting better or worse?
- Q.Is your ankle pain constant or come-and-go?
- Q.How long has your ankle pain been going on?
- Q.Is the ankle pain affecting:
If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our ankle pain symptom checker.Take a quiz
Ankle Pain Symptom Checker Statistics
People who have experienced ankle pain have also experienced:
- 11% Lower Leg Pain
- 8% Upper Leg Pain
- 7% Knee Pain
People who have experienced ankle pain had symptoms persist for:
- 33% Over a Month
- 23% Less Than a Week
- 23% Less Than a Day
People who have experienced ankle pain were most often matched with:
- 4% Psoriatic Arthritis
- 4% Rheumatoid Arthritis
- 1% Cellulitis