What is it?

Ankle pain refers to any kind of pain or discomfort affecting any part of the ankle. Ankle pain can happen for many reasons. The most common causes include injury, arthritis and normal wear and tear. Depending on the cause, you may feel pain or stiffness anywhere around the ankle. Your ankle may also swell, and you may not be able to put any weight on it.

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Signs & symptoms

Signs and symptoms include:
* Pain, especially when you bear weight on the affected foot
* Tenderness when you touch the ankle
* Swelling
* Bruising
* Restricted range of motion
* Instability in the ankle
* Popping sensation or sound at the time of injury

Diagnosis

During a physical, your doctor will examine your ankle, foot and lower leg. The doctor will touch the skin around the injury to check for points of tenderness and move your foot to check the range of motion and to understand what positions cause discomfort or pain.
If the injury is severe, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following imaging scans to rule out a broken bone or to evaluate in more detail the extent of ligament damage:
X-ray. During an X-ray, a small amount of radiation passes through your body to produce images of the bones of the ankle. This test is good for ruling out bone fractures.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRIs use radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed cross-sectional or 3-D images of soft internal structures of the ankle, including ligaments.
CT scan. CT scans can reveal more detail about the bones of the joint. CT scans take X-rays from many different angles and combine them to make cross-sectional or 3-D images.
Ultrasound. An ultrasound uses sound waves to produce real-time images. These images may help your doctor judge the condition of a ligament or tendon when the foot is in different positions.

Treatment

Most ankle injuries heal with at-home treatments. More severe injuries may require surgery. Treatment depends on what’s causing ankle pain. Common treatments for ankle pain include:
* Braces and splints: An ankle brace may relieve pain and stabilize your ankle. Some braces are better for certain activities. Ask your provider to recommend one that works best for your lifestyle.
* Joint aspiration: During this procedure, your provider inserts a needle into the joint and removes excess fluid. Joint aspirations relieve pain and swelling.
* Medications: Several types of medication can reduce inflammation and relieve ankle pain. Drugs to treat arthritis and gout can significantly reduce pain and swelling.
* Orthotic inserts: Orthotics are inserts that fit into your shoes. You can buy them from the store, or your provider can custom-make them for your feet. Orthotics support and stabilize the foot while ensuring proper alignment.
* Physical therapy (PT): A customized PT program will help you improve flexibility and strengthen muscles that support your ankle. Your physical therapist will create a PT plan with exercises and stretches designed just for you. Be sure to do your prescribed exercises and stretches regularly.
* Steroid injections: Your provider uses a needle to inject anti-inflammatory medication directly into your joint. Cortisone shots reduce inflammation and pain.
* Surgery: A wide range of ankle surgery procedures can repair torn ligaments or tendons. Some options relieve arthritis pain or correct flatfeet. Ankle joint replacement surgery can relieve pain and restore functionality.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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