Ankle Joint Pain Causes and Treatment

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Ankle joint pain is a sign of an injury, arthritis or overuse. Most ankle joint pain improves with rest, ice, elevation and pain relievers. Read more here.

Ankle joint pain is common, especially as you get older. There are things you can do to ease the pain, but get medical help if it’s very painful or it does not get better. You may find that you feel joint pain in one joint, or more than one, such as the knees and hips, or shoulders and wrists.

Joints form the connections between bones. They provide support and help us move. Any damage to the joints from disease or injury can cause a lot of pain subjecting you to a lack of mobility. If you are suffering from painful ankle joint pain and need to discover ways to shift the pain. Carry on reading for our tips on ankle joint pain.

Common causes of ankle joint painman suffering from ankle joint pain

The ankle is a vital part of our movement, it allows us to be mobile and agile, whilst also protecting us from falling or injury. But sometimes the ankle does suffer from discomfort. Ankle joint pain is often caused by exercising too much or wearing shoes that are not the right fit, either they are too tight or too big.

The most common causes of ankle joint pain are:

  • Bursitis: These are fluid-filled sacs which cushion your bones when they move. Bursitis occurs when these sacs become irritated or inflamed
  • Fractures: Injury or accident can cause bones to break or fracture. Ankle fractures range from mild to serious.
  • Sprains: A sprained ankle is common and is a common cause of ankle pain. A sprain is when ligaments over-stretch and tear. If the ankle is rolled out of its normal position, this will likely result in a sprain.
  • Tendonitis: This is a soft-tissue injury that results in irritated or inflamed tendons. The tendons connect the muscles to the bones, and sometimes they can tear. When torn they may need repairing with surgery.


Ankle arthritis is derived from pain and stiffness in the ankle joint. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage breaks down. The breakdown then causes bones to rub against one another. Overuse and untreated injuries can lead to arthritis; however, this is more common in people aged 60. There are two types of arthritis that can affect the ankle, and those are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Osteoarthritis is most common in adults over the age of 40 and affects them in joints like the wrists, hips, ankles, hands and knees. Rheumatoid arthritis more commonly affects women, it can deform and debilitate the joints over time, and causes pain, inflammation, and fluid build-up in the joints as the body’s immune system attacks the tissue that lines the joints.


This is a condition that effect those with a very low arch, it can cause pain and swelling in the ankles, and feet.

woman struggling with ankle pain

Medical ankle joint pain relief

Your treatment options will depend on the cause of the pain. In some cases, it is best to keep a diary of when you first started to feel the pain and what you were doing at the time the ankle joint pain started. They might also recommend surgery to repair the joint. If you seek medical support and advice for your ankle joint pain, your doctor may suggest help such as:

  • Strong Painkillers
  • Antibiotics, if they think the cause is an infection
  • Refer you to physiotherapy
  • Refer you to hospital for a scan or specialist treatment, such as steroid injections or surgery.

Tips for ankle joint pain relief

Ankle joint pain can range from mildly irritating to debilitating. It may go away after a few weeks, meaning the pain is acute, or last for several weeks or months, which would make it chronic. Even short-term pain and swelling in the ankle joints can affect your quality of life. Whatever the cause of your ankle joint pain, you can usually manage it with medication, physical therapy, or other treatments.

Maintain your ideal weight

With regard to optimal joint health, it is necessary for us to maintain our ideal body weight. Carrying excess body weight adds stress to our joints, especially our weight-bearing joints. Weight loss and maintenance significantly reduces knee pain, function, and stiffness associated with knee, which can also impact the ankle.

Keep moving

Many people with arthritis resist regular physical activity or exercise because they are worried of it creating more pain and further damage to the ankle joint. The body is supposed to move, our joints allow the body to move in the way that it does.

In fact, movement eases joint stiffness, reduces joint pain, strengthens the muscles which surround the joints, and help us maintain a healthy weight.

Supportive footwearrunner suffering from ankle joint pain

Make sure you wear footwear that gives you ankles and feet enough support. If you are walking around for long periods of time, avoid wearing shoes such as flip-flops, sandals or sliders. Especially when playing high intensity sports, or working out.

Joint pain can be uncomfortable for many of us and it can be worse for some depending on the cause of the pain. There are ways to get positive joint pain relief, but the most protruding is to keep moving. If you do feel as though your symptoms are getting worse, or you have reoccurring pain in your joints, then you should seek medical advice from a trusted health professional.

That is our guide on tips for ankle joint pain and its treatments done and dusted, we hope it’s given you a solution on how to ease your ankle joint pain, if you want to find out more about the aches and pains we feel in our bodies, and what the root cause may be, why not read our article on elbow joint pain next?


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