Common Causes of Ankle Pain


Any discomfort around the ankles is called ankle pain. It could be caused by a number of things from a medical condition like arthritis, to an injury like a sprain. The National University of Health Services states ankle sprains are the most common cause of ankle pain, making up about 85 percent of all reported cases. Sprains occur when ligaments — the soft tissue that connects bones to each other — are overstretched or torn.

The most common type of ankle injury is lateral sprains. This occurs when a person rolls their foot, twisting the ankle towards the ground. The rotation rips or stretches the ligaments, leading to bruising and swelling. The pain can last up to two weeks, but it takes about a month to heal from a strain fully. Depending on the severity, an ankle that has been strained might never be as stable as the other ankle even if it has fully healed. People who have sprained an ankle are more likely to sprain it again.

Some causes of ankle pain

While a sprain is the most likely reason a person has ankle pain. The pain can also be the result of medical issues like:

  • Arthritis
  • Nerve injuries like sciatica
  • Clogged blood vessels
  • Gout
  • An infected joint

Sprains are typically caused by a person rolling or twisting the ankle join. That results in ligaments being stretched or torn, and it can also damage tendons and cartilage. Gout is the result of uric acid building up inside the body. The higher formation of uric acid can lead to crystals being deposited in joints. The result is often sharp, unbearable pain.

People with a medical condition like arthritis can also experience ankle pain. This medical condition leads to the inflammation of the joints. The most likely type of arthritis to cause ankle discomfort is osteoarthritis. This is an issue that tends to develop later in life. Septic arthritis, which is caused by fungal or bacterial infection, can also lead to pain and discomfort if the ankles have been infected.

Managing ankle pain


People dealing with ankle discomfort should avoid putting any weight on the ankle. Movement should be limited for the first few days.

Use a cold compress

A bag of ice or a cold compress goes a long way when it comes to alleviating ankle pain. Use this to reduce swelling about five times a day until the inflammation goes down.

Wrap it up

A bandage can be used to hold the ankle in place and promote healing. Wrap the foot and ankle up tightly, while making sure there is still enough room for the skin to breathe.

Keep pressure off the ankle

It is best to keep the injured ankle elevated as much as possible. That takes all the pressure of the patient's weight off it. Remember, the legs still support some of a person's weight even when seated.

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