Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain

Chronic lateral ankle pain is recurring pain on the outside part of the ankle that often develops after an injury such as an ankle sprain .

Causes of Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain

  • Arthritis of the ankle joint
  • Fracture in one or more of the bones that make up the joint
  • Inflammation of the joint lining
  • Injury to the nerves that pass through the ankle (for more on maladies related to nerve damage in the lower extremities, check out our pages on Morton's neuroma and neuropathy )
  • Scar tissue in the ankle after an ankle sprain
  • Torn or inflamed tendon (also see our tendinitis page)

Symptoms of Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain

  • Ankle instability
  • Difficulty walking on uneven ground or in high heels
  • Pain, sometimes intense, on the outer side of the ankle
  • Repeated ankle sprains
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness

Treatments for Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain

  • Ankle braces or other supports
  • Immobilization to allow the bone to heal, especially in cases of fractures
  • Over the counter or prescription anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling (Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications.)
  • Physical therapy, including tilt-board exercises that focus on strengthening the muscles, restoring range of motion, and increasing perception of joint position
  • Steroid medication
  • Surgery, in the most extreme cases, to remove loose bone fragments or repair damaged ligaments or tendons

Prevention of Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain

  • Continued use of an ankle brace (rather than taping the ankle) when playing sports
  • Physical therapy, if applicable after surgery, in order to prevent recurrence of pain
  • Resting the injured ankle
  • Wearing properly fitting shoes and lacing them correctly

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