Your ankle is an intricate network of bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Strong enough to bear your body weight, your ankle joint can be prone to injury and pain. You may feel ankle 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.
Because ankle pain can sometimes indicate a serious problem, severe ankle pain should be evaluated by your doctor, especially if it follows an injury. Though mild ankle pain often responds well to self-care measures such as rest, icing and elevation of the leg, it can take time to go away.
If your knee pain does not improve within 1-2 weeks it is advisable to seek professional care where a diagnosis can be established and a course of physical therapy will likely be recommended. In addition to physical therapy, specialties such as acupuncture and massage therapy can help resolve ankle pain and may also prevent the development of some ankle problems.
Signs & Symptoms
- Sprain – a stretched or torn ligament, often caused by an injury
- Fracture – a broken bone, usually after a significant injury (or a more minor injury if you have osteoporosis)
- Gout – a form of “crystal” arthritis, in which deposits of uric acid (a waste product in the blood) accumulate in the joint, causing inflammation
- Infectious Arthritis– a virus, bacterium or other organism can deposit in the joint through the blood (or directly through a wound) causing inflammation
- Lyme Disease infection related to organisms found in deer ticks which bite humans, causing a rash, and months later, a form of arthritis most commonly affecting the knee
- Rheumatoid Arthritis– a cause of arthritis in multiple joints, especially small joints of hands and wrists, which are usually symmetric (meaning that both sides of the body are affected similarly)
Injury to any of the bones, ligaments or tendons in the ankle can cause ankle pain. Most ankle pain, however, is the result of a sprain, which occurs when your ankle rolls over your foot, causing a ligament to stretch or tear. Though sprains are often sports-related, they can also occur when you walk on an uneven surface or simply take a misstep.
Common causes of ankle pain include:
- Sprained ankle
- Sprains and strains
- Stress fractures
- Achilles tendinitis
- Achilles tendon rupture
- Avulsion fracture
- Broken ankle/broken foot
- Rheumatoid arthritis