Ankle Pain Cause & Symptom

Ankle Pain : Causes and Treatment

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You may have ankle pain for various reasons and in different parts of the ankle like inner ankle, outer ankle, ankle joint pain, foot and ankle pain or ankle may pain while walking only and sometimes there may be ankle pain but no swelling.  It is simple to find relief from ankle pain if you can understand the cause of your ankle pain.

What Is The Problem?

The ankle is a complex joint with three bones connected by ligaments, muscles, nerves and blood vessels that work together to function properly, if one small portion is injured or affected, pain and mobility problems arise.

There is a ligament on the inside (deltoid ligament) and a ligament on the outside of the ankle joint (lateral ligament). The lateral ligament is more commonly injured with ankle sprains.

Causes for Ankle Pain 

Injury to any of the ankle bones, ligaments or tendons and several types of arthritis can cause ankle pain. Common causes can include:

  • Sprained ankle - Sprains and strains are injuries to the body, often resulting from physical activity. These injuries are common and can range from minor to severe, depending on the incident.
  • Ankle Ligament Injury – This could be an injury to the tough bands of tissue (ligaments) that surround and connect the bones of the leg to the foot. The injury typically happens when you accidentally twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way. This can stretch or tear the ligaments that hold your ankle bones and joints together.
  • Broken ankle/broken foot - This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required. A fracture is a broken bone. Read more about recovery from fracture.
  • Gout - The ankle pain and swelling could be due to gout, a condition that causes painful inflammation in the joints.
  • Osteoarthritis - If you live with osteoarthritis, you know it's a complex condition with a broad range of treatments and risk factors. Arthritis is an inflammation of the tissues that line your joints. This inflammation can cause pain, swelling, and joint damage. Read more about pain relief from Arthritis
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome - Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tunnel (the space where leg nerve (tibial nerve) travels down to the ankle)  swells, compressing the tibial nerve and causing foot pain and ankle pain, burning, and tingling occur along the inside of the ankle, heel, arch, and sole of the foot. Symptoms tend to increase as the day progresses and are usually worsened with increased activity, such as walking or exercise.
  • Plantar fasciitis – This pain is mainly caused due to the inflammation of the plantar fascia which is a dense fibrous connective tissue connecting the heel to the toes. Pain is usually most severe when taking the first few steps of the day or after long hours of standing.  Read more about Plantar fasciitis.



Do I Need To Have Treatment?

For the majority of people the symptoms of an ankle sprain usually settle with self care. When pain in your ankle changes your activity level, it is time to seek help.

You may watch out for following symptoms to ascertain if you need a diagnosis of the problem so that it may be corrected.

  • Inflammation, swelling or
  • Difficulty walking or
  • Difficulty bearing weight

What Are The Treatment Choices?

1. Self care at Home

The first line of treatment is to rest and take the weight off your injured leg for a day or two. Ice packs may help to relieve the pain and reduce the swelling. If a doctor is not an option, there are several self-care measures that you can use to help ease the pain. These may include:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Read more about RICE and how to follow RICE protocol at home.

2. Non-Operative

Following a severe sprain or if symptoms persist physiotherapy usually helps to improve your symptoms. Exercises concentrate on strengthening the ankle muscles and also on improving ankle balance.

Insoles supporting your foot or an ankle brace supporting your ankle may help your symptoms.

The most conservative, but effective treatment, will be presented as an option for your recovery. The following are examples:

3. Operative

If the non-operative treatments do not help, then surgery maybe an option. Occasionally the lateral ligament may fail to heal properly resulting in weakness and ankle instability. Damage to surrounding joints or tendons may cause persistent pain and swelling. The surgical treatment depends on the severity of the lateral ligament injury and damage to surrounding structures.

Crushing or high-impact injuries from a car accident or a sports injury may require surgery to correct the problem so that it can heal properly.

Minimally invasive Surgery

Modern medicine allows you to opt for minimally invasive surgery vs the traditional methods. There are many benefits of laser and minimally-invasive surgery besides the correction of the problem. Below are a few examples:

  • Shorter recovery times
  • Outpatient procedures
  • Faster pain relief
  • Smaller incisions – usually less than half an inch
  • Lower risk for complications
  • Faster return to your daily activities

Irrespective of how you choose to get operated, the aim of surgery is to reduce your pain, reduce instability & improve your function.  The success of the surgery will be complete only with a proper rehab afterwards.


Physiotherapy is usually recommended after the surgery, even after a minimally-invasive surgical procedure to enable you to quickly regain mobility and the function of your ankle. Following these instructions and practicing the exercises will help to ensure a speedy recovery. Read more about recovery at home after surgery.

Whether your ankle pain requires you to choose conservative method for recovery or surgical, Physiotherapy will surely see you back on your feet.

At ReLiva, we want you to get back to participating in the activities you enjoy as fast as possible. Get relief. Call +91 992099 1584 to speak to us today so we can connect you with a physiotherapy  specialist in your area.

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