Ankle Pain FAQ

What are the causes of ankle pain?

Most of the common causes of ankle pain are movement or weakness issues that have lead to a gradual build up of stress in the connective tissues of the ankle over time. Other causes include injury and even serious disease processes. Potential causes of ankle pain include… 

  • Very high arches
    Flat feet or low arches
  • Tight IT Band
  • Genetic predispositions 
  • Scar tissue
  • Weakness in lower leg & ankle muscles 
  • Weakness in hip & knee muscles
  • Glutes not firing properly
  • Old injuries and sprains
  • Problems with running technique
  • Back problems
  • Muscle Tears
  • Bone Cancers
  • Infections
  • Arthritis 
What are the best treatments for ankle pain? 

The best treatment for ankle pain is ultimately the one that proves to be effective in your particular case. In many ways treatment for pain is a lot like diet in the sense that we all have requirements that are somewhat unique. 

Broadly speaking the goals of treatment are pain relief and figuring out what the pain is happening in the first place. The majority of regular, uncomplicated ankle pain sufferers respond well to treatments that are designed to promote blood flow and collagen regeneration. Beyond pain relief, most cases require some form of slightly longer term rehab exercises program, and insoles/orthotics can be useful too. 

Specific treatments for ankle pain that have proven useful for us over the years include..

  • Acupuncture 
  • Cryotherapy 
  • Scar Tissue Release ( Graston Technique / Guasha )
  • Deep Tissue Release
  • Post-Isometric Stretches
  • Joint Mobilisation
  • Extracorporeal Shock Therapy 
  • Balance & Proprioception Exercises
  • Custom Orthotics 
How can I tell if I have tendinitis in my ankle?

There are a great many tendons that cross the ankle joint. These tendons are the attachments for the muscles of the lower leg many of which are just passing through on their way to insertions on the foot bones. Ankle tendonitis or ankle tendinosis as we prefer to call it these days is caused by microscopic wear and tear in an ankle tendon. 

The primary symptom associated with ankle tendonitis/ ankle tendinosis is pain related to movement. Some cases of ankle tendinitis generate sharp sudden ‘catching’ or ‘pinching’ pain felt at certain times and in certain positions. Other cases of tendinitis manifest as difficulty bearing weight or moving without what feels like pain from the joint. Achilles tendinitis/tendinosis is soften associated with obvious thickening of the tendon. 

Web based information like this can be an excellent way to raise your ‘health IQ’, we do however advise against self-diagnosis. If you have persistent ankle pain and you suspect it could be tendinosis or tendonitis get yourself to someone professionally trained to diagnose ankle pains. 

What are the possible causes of ankle pain with no swelling? 

Scar tissue, tendonitis, flat feet, muscle weakness, unresolved sprains, arthritis, joint infections, bone diseases and even gout can cause ankle pain with no swelling. It’s more probable that you have some scar tissue, weakness or an unresolved sprain than anything more serious. Persistent pains, however, are not supposed to be ignored, so see a trained health professional if you are having problems. 

Do I have ankle arthritis? 

There are many pain conditions that can feel very much like the onset of ankle arthritis. The only reliable way to know if you have ankle arthritis is by a combination of a physical exam and X-Ray. It is worth being aware that confirming that you have ankle arthritis doesn’t also mean that your pain is arthritic pain. Many people, for example, have ankle arthritis and ankle tendonitis and find that it was, in fact, the tendonitis causing their pain

As you may have gathered we advise against attempts at self-diagnosing conditions like ankle arthritis. If you have stubborn pain and stiffness in one or both of your ankles that is proving to be persistent seek professional advice. 

What are the possible causes of sharp ankle pains when walking? 

There is a wide range of physical issues that can cause sharp ankle pains when walking. The possible causes are much the same as the possible causes of any kind of ankle pain and they include..

  • Very high arches
  • Flat feet
  • Scar tissue
  • Weakness in lower leg & ankle muscles
  • Weakness in hip & knee muscles
  • Old injuries and sprains
  • Problems with running technique
  • Muscle Tears
  • Bone Cancers
  • Infections
  • Arthritis 

In our experience, the most common causes of sharp ankle pains felt when walking and running are weakness and scar tissue, both of which can develop slowly over time as well as after a significant injury.