Ankle Pain Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Are day-to-day activities becoming more challenging, and staying active feels out of the question? Is it a challenge to stand on your feet for more than 10–20 minutes? Is your child crying and claiming their feet hurt? You or your child may be suffering from ankle pain. While outer or outside ankle soreness can be easy to ignore by taking frequent rests, it doesn’t have to be a daily or recurring condition. Learn about the causes of ankle pain and sore ankles, how to treat pain in the ankle, and methods to actively prevent it.

Girl and grandmother coloring together

What is ankle pain?

Your ankle is the “center point” of your leg and foot, allowing you to jump, turn, move your foot from side to side, and step up and down. When we talk about ankle pain, we’re referring to both the bone and joint that conduct these movements. In general, when someone is suffering from ankle pain, they feel it in the ankle point, joint, and the area surrounding it (ligaments, muscles, and tendons). The pain could feel like sharp stabs, a burning sensation, inflammation that’s triggered by touch, or generally aching and sore ankles.

Active Man in Gym Massaging Ankle Pain

What causes ankle pain?

Whatever the cause, ongoing ankle pain should always be examined by a medical professional.

For most patients, ankle pain is caused by a recent injury or wrong step.

In rarer cases, ankle pain may be related to Achilles tendinitis, a ruptured tendon, nerve damage, or a tumor.

Ankle pain may be due to hereditary issues and other foot conditions. When you consult with a podiatrist, they may conduct tests to determine if the problem is gout or a form of arthritis.

What are the common symptoms of ankle pain?

You may experience outside ankle pain when you try to move the foot while sitting or standing. If you suffer from any of these common symptoms, contact your local podiatrist:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Inability to bear weight on your foot (causing imbalance)
  • Swelling of the ankle
  • Bruising of the ankle
  • Redness
  • Tingling or burning
  • Stiffness
  • Sore ankle

How do you treat ankle pain?

The treatment for ankle pain can vary depending on their injury, foot condition, and lifestyle. For example, a sprained ankle requires a different approach than arthritis. If you are unsure about the underlying cause of your ankle pain, it is best to consult your local foot doctor to diagnose your condition.

Treat ankle pain at home

Following the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), RICE is a great way to temporarily alleviate pain for a sprained ankle before your upcoming appointment. If your ankle pain is moderate to severe, your podiatrist may recommend ordering a cast or brace to provide more relief while the swelling goes down.

When to see an ankle doctor?

A seemingly minor sprain can lead to more severe problems in the future. If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, connect with an ankle specialist (podiatrist) as soon as possible.

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Difficulty walking or participating in day-to-day activities

How to prevent ankle pain?

Stretch regularly before and after any strenuous activity. A light stretch before your morning jog or for your child before a soccer game will prevent ligament tears, joint inflammation, or overstretching.

Work with a physical therapist or sports trainer to condition the muscles around your ankles and feet slowly if you actively participate in sports. “Warming up” your body before jumping into the game will save your ankles in the long run.

Invest in supportive athletic shoes or custom insoles that you can insert into your dress shoes. All shoes should have a stable heel. Without proper support for your arch, you will feel ankle discomfort and pain over time.

  • For low arches, choose shoes that support the front of your foot and the arch.
  • For stiff or high arches, look for a softer platform with more cushion.

Listen to your body. If your feet or ankles are injured, slowly work yourself back into the day-to-day routine. Over-exertion and usage can cause permanent ankle damage.

Mom and daughter doing yoga together

Scottsdale ankle pain center

If you’re experiencing severe or acute ankle pain, we encourage you to contact our team of Scottsdale podiatrists and care professionals. Our Scottsdale Ankle Pain Center takes a conservative approach to ankle pain, working quickly to alleviate the pain without surgery or invasive treatment methods. Located just north of Shea and the 101, book an appointment online or call us at (480) 661-7572 for same-day appointment information.