Common Causes of Ankle Pain

sport physiotherapy stittsville

If you’re looking for effective, evidence based treatment for your ankle pain, Stittsville Sports Physio is here to help. We provide one-on-one care to help clients for recover from various injuries. Ankle pain is one of the common issues we deal with.  Here’s an overview of five common causes of ankle pain:

1.    Sprained Ankle

The National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) identifies ankle sprain as the most common cause of ankle pain. Sprains account for the highest percentage of all ankle pain cases.  All joints have two ends where bones meet, cartilage, surrounding capsule and ligaments that connect from one bone to the other. Ligaments are the deepest layer of protection for the joint.  The outer layer of protection includes the tendons which is the connection between the mucles and bone and when contracted will move the joint so you can do your activities.   When a   tendon is pulled and stretched it is called a “strain”.  If the joint is pushed past what the musculotendon unit can handle, then the deeper layer, the ligament(s) are then pulled and stretched, this is called a “sprain”.

An ankle sprain happens when the ligament(s) around joints are over stretched from the joint being pushed beyond it’s normal limits. This can happen during a sporting event or from walking on uneven ground where you may “roll” your ankle over.

There are different degrees of sprains according to how much the ligament(s) have been stretched.  Immediatly follwing an injury to a ligament,   you can have swelling, pain and may be unable to put all of your weight on your foot.  Depending on how severly the ligament is affected, swelling, pain and range of motion may take 6-8 weeks to recover.  Strength training and specific exercises for return to activity, will be given by your physiotherapist to complete the rehabilitation process.

2.    Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions can also cause ankle pain. Degenerative conditions like arthritis, specifically osteoarthritis, can cause pain in various joints, including the ankles. Gout, nerve damage/injury, sciatica, blocked blood vessels, and joint infections can also be a source of ankle pain. If your ankle pain were from a bacterial or fungal infection, you will be directed to seek help from your medical practicioner. .

Osteoarthritis is one of the conditions we do address at Stittsville Sports Physio. Osteoarthritis of the ankle joints can be caused by trauma to the ankle joints from a pervious injury or high intense activity over years.

3.    Inflamed Tendons & Bursae

Ankle pain can stem from tendons that connect the muscle to the bone.  Often over-training and mechanical errors in moving can put extra strain on the tendon creating inflammation around it, called “tendonitis”.  We, at Stittsville Sport Physio, will look at how well your joint is moving, how strong the tendons are around the ankle joints and watch how you move, assessing your mechanics.

Inflamed bursae can also cause ankle pain. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that cushion your bones when they move. Inflammation of these sacs can lead to bursitis and cause pain in and around the affected area.

Pain and swelling can also be as a result of a bone fracture. An accident that places enough force over the joints, can cause bones to fracture.  Ankle fractures can be mild or severe . Once a fracture is identified on an x-ray, the ankle joint may be immobilized for a period of time for boney healing to occure. Your physiotherapist will know when it is safe to start range of motion and strength exercises.

Ankle Pain Treatment Physiotherapy

An experienced physiotherapist from Stittsville Sport Physio, can properly assess and determine the best treatment plan for your ankle to get you back to what you love!