The most common cause for a persistently painful ankle is incomplete healing after an ankle sprain. Other conditions that can lead to chronic ankle pain include an injury to the nerves that pass along the ankle joint, a torn or inflamed tendon,arthritis of the ankle joint, a fracture of bones around the ankle, inflammation of the ankle joint lining, or scar tissue buildup. These conditions can cause symptoms of pain on the outer side of the ankle, difficulty walking on uneven ground, difficulty walking in high heels, ankle instability,swelling, stiffness, tenderness, and repeated ankle sprains.
The first thing a doctor will evaluate is the history of your chronic ankle pain. This will help them determine the cause, as there are so many potential reasons for chronic ankle pain. Your doctor will also feel for tender areas and look for signs of swelling. They may have you move your foot and ankle to assess range of motion and flexibility. To test the sensation of the nerves, your doctor may administer a shot of local anesthesia. Your doctor may order x-rays of the ankle joint and foot to help view the bony alignment.
The podiatrists at Coastal Podiatry Associates will tailor your treatment plan to your needs. Conservative treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, braces, local steroid injections, and casts. If conservative treatment doesn’t bring relief, surgery may be needed. Most procedures are done on an outpatient setting with six to ten weeks of post-op rehabilitation. Surgical options include removing loose tendon fragments, cleaning the joint or joint surface, and ligament repair or reconstruction.