Ankle Pain Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Whether you're 5 years old or 50 years old, the pain you feel in your ankles isn’t something that can be ignored. Day-to-day activities become more challenging, staying active is out of the question, and standing on your feet for more than 10–20 minutes is impossible. While pain and discomfort can’t always be avoided, it doesn't need to be a permanent problem. Learning why you're dealing with the pain and how you can treat it will help you get back on your feet — pain free.

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 general aching.

Active Man in Gym Massaging Ankle Pain

What causes ankle pain?

For most patients, ankle pain is caused by a recent injury or wrong step. This does not, however, eliminate hereditary issues and other foot conditions. When you consult with a podiatrist, he or she may conduct tests to determine if the problem is gout or a form of arthritis. In rarer cases, ankle pain may be related to Achilles tendinitis, a ruptured tendon, nerve damage, or a tumor. Regardless of what you suspect the cause to be, ongoing ankle pain should always be examined by a medical professional.

If you’re experiencing severe or acute ankle pain, we encourage you to contact our team of podiatrists and care professionals. Our Scottsdale ankle center takes a conservative approach to ankle pain, working quickly to alleviate the pain without surgery or invasive treatment methods. Contact us at (480) 661-7572 to schedule an appointment or book online.

What are the common symptoms of ankle pain?

Ankle pain most frequently presents itself when you try to move your foot while sitting or standing. Here are some common symptoms:

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

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, contact your local podiatrist. Following the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), will provide temporary pain relief before your upcoming appointment.

How to prevent ankle pain?

The best way to prevent ankle pain is to stretch regularly (before and after any strenuous activity). A light stretch for you before morning jog or for your child before a soccer game will prevent ligament tears and joint inflammation or overstretching. If you actively participate in sports, we recommend working with a physical therapist or sports trainer to condition the muscles around your ankles and feet slowly. “Warming up” your body before jumping into the game will save your ankles in the long run.

Another preventative measure that we encourage all patients to follow is to invest in supportive athletic shoes or custom insoles that you can insert into your dress shoes. Without having proper support for your arch, you will feel ankle discomfort and pain over time. If you have low arches, choose shoes that support the front of your foot and the arch. Stable heels are necessary as well. If your foot is stiffer or has a higher arch, look for a softer platform with more cushion.

Above all else, when it comes to preventing pain, 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.

How do you treat ankle pain?

The treatment for ankle pain can be vastly different from one patient to the next, depending on their injury, foot condition, and lifestyle.

Treat ankle pain at home

Following the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is a great way to alleviate pain and treat a sprained ankle. If your ankle pain is moderate to severe, ordering a cast or brace would provide the most relief.

When to see an ankle doctor?

If you’re experiencing any of the below symptoms, you must connect with an ankle specialist (podiatrist). A seemingly minor sprain can lead to a Pandora’s Box of problems in the future.

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty walking or participating in day-to-day activities
  • Tingling or burning
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Scottsdale ankle pain center

Ankle pain and discomfort aren’t always avoidable, but they can be treated. If you’re suffering from ankle pain or foot pain, we encourage you to connect with our team of ankle specialists. We work hard to make sure each patient and their family members feel comfortable during their appointment, quickly addressing the pain they are experiencing.

Our Ankle Pain Center is located in Scottsdale, Arizona, just north of Shea and the 101. Book an appointment online or call us at (480) 661-7572 for same-day appointment information.

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