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Ankle Pain: 3 Common Causes and Remedies

Ankle Pain: 3 Common Causes and Remedies

Whether playing in the yard, competing on the field, and even commuting to class, patients can sustain ankle trauma at any age. While some the most common causes of ankle pain are acute injuries, other common causes include chronic disorders. 

An Arthritic Flare 

The ankle joint bears more weight-bearing force per unit area compared to others commonly targeted by arthritis, such as the hip or knee. Therefore, patients with ankle arthritis often report limited mobility and immobilizing pain. Although there are many different types of arthritis, three of the most common ones include: 

  • Osteoarthritis 

  • Rheumatoid arthritis  

  • Psoriatic arthritis 

The most common symptoms across arthritic conditions include joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. However, the most effective treatment alternatives will vary depending on a patient’s level of joint damage, cartilage loss, or disfigurement. Common non-invasive management techniques for arthritis include: 

  • Bracing

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)

  • Shoe modifications 

  • Steroid injections 

For patients with advanced arthritis or ankle arthritis that shows little to no response to conservative treatment, there are a number of surgical treatment options available. 

An Ankle Fracture

Typically the result of a sporting accident or misstep, ankle fractures are commonly classified as one of two types, including: 

  • Stress fracture

    Also known as a hairline fracture, a stress fracture is a small crack that usually forms as a result of overuse. 

  • Compound fracture

    Complete fractures in which the ankle bone pierces the skin are known as compound, or open fractures. 

The proper course of treatment for an ankle fracture varies depending on the severity of the ankle fracture. For mild fractures, physicians may recommend a cast or splint to immobilize the ankle along with ice and NSAIDS to provide pain management. In cases of more severe fractures with misalignment, an orthopaedist may recommend closed reduction of the ankle or surgical intervention. 

An Ankle Sprain 

One of the most common — and easily treatable — causes of ankle pain, are sprains. An ankle sprain is the result of injured ligaments in the ankle. Sprains are distinguished by three grades, which include: 

  1. Grade 1

    Ankle ligaments are overstretched but not torn. Symptoms include soreness and mild swelling. 

  2. Grade 2

    Ankle ligaments are partially torn. Symptoms including persistent pain, swelling, and bruising. 

  3. Grade 3

    Ankle ligaments are fully torn. Symptoms include extreme pain, limited ankle mobility, and swelling. 

For patients with grade 1 or even grade 2 ankle sprains, conservative treatments, such as rest, NSAIDS, and elevation, are typically effective. In certain cases of grade 2 sprains and most cases of grade 3 sprains, however, physicians may prescribe a physical therapy routine to restore mobility after a period of immobilized rest. 

Overcome Ankle Pain With OASA

Instead of “walking off” your ankle injury or adjusting to a lifestyle of chronic ankle pain, consult the orthopaedic specialists at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine to find out which treatment options can remedy your ailment. Our orthopaedists and sports medicine specialists diagnose and treat ankle injuries in all patients — young, adult, athletic, and adventurous. To schedule an appointment, complete our online request form or contact the office at 904-825-0540.


Dr Hort - Foot surgeon St Augustine

Kurtis Hort, MD 
Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and a member of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. Dr. Hort specializes in reconstructive procedures of the foot and ankle.