7 Causes Of Sudden Ankle Pain Without Injury

7 Causes Of Sudden Ankle Pain Without Injury

The Ankle joint is formed by the two bones of the lower leg and the foot. Fractures and sprains are common causes of ankle pain caused by injury. But many times, ankle pain results from non-traumatic causes.

  1. Osteoarthritis -Osteoarthritis of the ankle joint results from degeneration of the cartilage, which leads to pain, stiffness, and loss of range of motion.
  2. Rheumatoid Arthritis– It is an autoimmune condition affecting many joints. Foot and ankle, when involved, usually results in pain, swelling, and stiffness.
  3. Flat Feet– results in ankle pain due to flattening of the foot arch. The arch affects how your ankle and foot bears body weight.
  4. Achilles Tendinopathy– Caused by damage or inflammation of the calf tendon. Pain in the Achilles tendon increases after activity. Sometimes, a lump may be felt in the tendon, besides redness and warmth.
  5. Bursitis– occurs when fluid-filled sacs within the ankle joint become inflamed. The function of the bursa is to protect bones, joints, and tendons from pressure or impact. However, excessive pressure causes the bursa to get irritated and inflamed.
  6. Infection of the ankle joint– May result from previous trauma, injury, or surgery.
  7. Gout– Deposition of uric acid crystals in the joint can cause sharp pain. It affects the foot and ankle joint, more commonly the big toe. It can be very painful.

Home care plans for sudden ankle pain consist of resting the ankle joint and taking NSAIDs. Braces or splints, steroids, antibiotics, and joint aspiration are other treatment options depending on the causative factor.

Once the pain subsides, one can start with gentle ROM exercises of the ankle like in a long sitting position, pull your feet towards your legs, then stretch them down so that the toes are pointing downwards. Rotate your ankles in a circular motion, both clockwise and anti-clockwise.

Consult your doctor,

  • if your pain is worsening or doesn’t improve in few days
  • skin color changes to blue/black
  • you have a fever
  • if you have diabetes.


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