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Health Encylopedia

Ankle pain
Definition Pain or discomfort in the ankle(s).
Alternative Names Pain - ankle(s)
Considerations Arthritis can involve the bones and cartilage of the ankle, but instability is usually the result of problems in the ligaments.
Common Causes
  • injury or trauma (sprained ankle)
  • acute gouty arthritis
  • osteoarthritis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • chronic gouty arthritis
  • pseudogout
  • psoriatic arthritis
  • Reiter's syndrome
  • septic arthritis
  • Home Care
  • Be alert and sensitive to any pain message. If the ankle is in pain, rest it.
  • Unstable ankles should be supported for major weight-bearing activity. Support can be obtained by wearing high-lacing boots or using an ankle brace. Professional help may be required for proper fitting of braces. Either crutches or a cane can help take weight off a sore ankle. For arthritis of the ankle, take medication exactly as prescribed. When the pain begins to decrease, gently begin to exercise the joint again. Swimming is good, followed by stretching. Walking can be added later. Exercises can be done several times a day; but don't overdo it, and be sensitive to pain messages.
    Call your health care provider if
  • ankle pain is caused by an injury.
  • there is a
  • fever , heat in the ankle, redness, or severe pain when not bearing weight.
  • you are unable to walk at all.
  • pain persists for more than 3 days.
  • What to expect at your health care provider's office The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed. Medical history questions documenting ankle pain in detail may include:
  • distribution
  • Is the pain shifting from joint to joint (migrating)?
  • Is the pain the same in both ankles (symmetrical)?
  • time pattern
  • Did the pain begin suddenly and severely?
  • Did the pain begin slowly and mildly and then get worse?
  • Did the pain resolve spontaneously in less than 6 weeks?
  • other
  • What other symptoms are also present?
  • Is there a
  • fever ?
  • Does the ankle feel warm to the touch?
  • Does the ankle look red?
  • Does the ankle hurt when you are not bearing weight on it?
  • The physical examination will include detailed examination of the ankles. Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:
  • joint X-ray
  • of the ankle(s)
  • aspiration
  • of synovial fluid (fluid from the joint space) and
  • synovial fluid analysis Intervention Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), special foot-gear, or braces may be prescribed. Surgery is occasionally necessary. After seeing your health care provider: You may want to add a diagnosis related to ankle pain to your personal medical record.