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Ankle pain: symptoms, causes and treatment


What is ankle pain?

Ankle pain is a common problem. This joint is especially vulnerable because it supports a proportion of your bodyweight as well as forming part of the mechanism that enables you to move around on a daily basis. Ankle pain can also have a number of causes. Connecting your feet to your legs, your ankles are made up of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments, which could all be the cause of your pain.

What are the symptoms of ankle pain?

Ankle pain may be accompanied by a wide range of symptoms, including haematoma (an accumulation of blood under the skin), redness, swelling, stiffness or clicking sounds, misshapen bones, and tenderness or difficulty in moving your ankle. The pain could come on after an injury, during exercise or exertion, or even for no apparent reason. It may also come on suddenly or gradually, during a specific movement, or when you are resting.

What are the causes of ankle pain?

Ankle pain can be due to a problem with the bones, joints, muscles, tendons or ligaments. It is commonly the result of an injury, or can be the sign of an underlying joint condition.

The types of injury that can cause ankle pain include sprains, dislocations, tendinitis, Achilles tendon tears, or fractured ankles (characterised by a misshapen bone).

Joint conditions that can lead to ankle pain include osteoarthritis (a mechanical problem that makes it hurt when you move your joints) and inflammatory arthritis (inflammation that causes pain both when you are resting and when you move).

How to treat ankle pain?

The treatment for ankle pain depends on its cause. For example, if your pain is the result of an injury, applying a cold compress to the painful area, taking painkillers, immobilising and elevating your ankle, and resting will help to relieve it. For pain caused by a joint condition, treating this condition will help to relieve your pain.

There are also some solutions that help to relieve or reduce joint and muscle pain without the need for medication. This is a key feature of the OMRON HeatTens range of pain relievers, which combine soothing heat with Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS).