Ankle pain can happen due to an injury to any of the ankle bones, tendons or ligaments. Although, an ankle sprain is the most common cause of ankle pain, other conditions like arthritis, fracture and inflammation of tendons or ligaments can also cause pain. Ankle pain is often associated with swelling, redness, stiffness and instability. Initial treatment may include rest, ice, compression and elevation, but it may further require a visit to an orthopedic surgeon for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Let’s look at some of the most common causes of ankle pain.
This is the most common cause of ankle pain which is often caused by sudden turning, twisting or rolling of the ankle. Due to sudden movement, the ligaments get overstretched or torn due to excessive stress on the ligament. Pain depends on the severity of the injury, the extent of ligament tear and how many ligaments are involved.
It is an overuse injury that happens when Achilles tendon, which connects calf muscles to the heel bone, gets injured. It is most commonly seen in runners who suddenly increase their duration or intensity of running. Symptoms may include pain and swelling above the heel after running. Pain may become severe after prolonged running, sprinting or uphill running.
Achilles tendon rupture:
The Achilles tendon may get ruptured if there is sudden overload or trauma. It most commonly occurs in athletes or in those who lift heavy objects. When the tendon ruptures, you may hear a pop sound followed by sharp pain and inability to walk.
Bones in the ankle can get fractured due to an impact or injury. Three bones make up ankle joint- tibia, fibula and talus. If any bone breaks or cracks, it can lead to pain, bruising and swelling. Best way to deal with fractures is to keep the foot iced and elevated until you see a doctor.
The ankle has 2 fluid-filled sacs called bursa that prevent rubbing between the tendons and bones. They can sometimes get inflamed due to arthritis, overuse, footwear issues, high-heeled shoes or working out without proper stretching. Symptoms may include pain, stiffness and swelling.
Osteochondral lesions of the talus (OLT):
A sudden injury can damage the cartilage present on top of the Talus bone (heel bone). It usually happens after an injury like an ankle sprain. If the cartilage fails to heal properly after the injury, it begins to break off and lead to OLT or Talar dome lesion. Symptoms may include chronic pain, clicking or catching sensation in the ankle, locking of ankle and swelling.
It is a chronic degenerative condition of the Achilles tendon that happens when the healing rate is slower than the injury rate. The tendon loses its elasticity due to repetitive overloading. This condition is best treated with functional rehabilitation, including strengthening and stretching the tendon.
Peroneal tendon injury:
There are 2 peroneal tendons that run side by side behind the outer ankle bone. The main role of these tendons is to stabilize the ankle and prevent an ankle sprain. Peroneal tendon injury commonly occurs in sports that involve repetitive ankle motion. Also, people with high arches are at risk for this injury. It can lead to pain, swelling and instability.
If you are experiencing pain in the Boise, Idaho region regarding knee pain, contact Boise's top orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Michael Gustavel.