You don’t recall twisting or injuring your ankle recently but you are experiencing pain off and on (and sometimes it’s pretty intense) on the outside of your ankle. Your ankle feels weak, like it might give way, particularly when you are wearing high heels or walking on an uneven surface. Your ankle is often stiff and tender and sometimes it swells up. If this describes your symptoms, you may be suffering from chronic lateral ankle pain.
What Causes Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain?
The most common cause of this disorder that we see at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists is a previous ankle sprain. If the sprain did not heal properly or if you did not complete the physical therapy necessary to strengthen the surrounding muscles that support the ankle, it is likely that the ankle will twist again and chronic lateral ankle pain can result. Other possible causes are:
A fracture in one of the bones of the ankle joint
Scar tissue in the ankle from a previous sprain
A inflamed or torn tendon
Inflammation of a joint lining
What Can be Done?
Our podiatrists: Dr. George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Dr. Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Dr. Carl Conui, D.P.M., or Dr. Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M, will need to conduct a thorough examination of your ankle and also get a complete medical history, including any information and medical records of previous sprains. An x-ray or other imaging studies may also be helpful in evaluating the ankle issues. Once the foot doctor knows the extent and cause of your chronic lateral ankle pain, there are a number of treatment options available. The foot doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and possibly steroids to reduce pain and swelling. If a fracture is involved, some period of immobilization may be required. Physical therapy, ankle braces and supports can all help heal and protect the ankle going forward.