Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain

Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain

Chronic Lateral ankle pain, often after injury such as ankle sprain; A recurrent and persistent (chronic) pain develops above the outer (lateral) edge of the ankle.

Its main symptoms are swelling, stiffness and tenderness. The person has pain only above the ankle joint and is not present in any other joints. In the first stages, the patient is often aware of pain, and a sensation that the pain may be from any joint. This might be related to the nerve of the ankle (the tibial nerve) having been irritated or damaged. Patients are usually pain-free for three years. If there is a decrease in the pain as the person improves, it might be caused by a condition called “osteoarthritis” (also spelled “osteitis” or “osteoarthritis”). This is a degenerative condition of the joint. Patients usually have no discomfort but their ankle is weak.

Treatment of Ankle Pain

If the ankle pain is from a torn ligament or a tendon, see Diagnosis. If the pain is a result of something else, such as bone fractures or damaged cartilage, see Treatment.

The treatment usually involves pain medication and strengthening.

For patients with chronic ankle pain, joint replacement surgery is available. The new cartilage is called a “dock” ankle joint, and the original cartilage can be fixed with a titanium frame plate.

What should the patient do if he or she has pain?

If pain is persistent, see Medical Treatment. If the pain comes on suddenly, see Psychological Treatment.

The patient can continue wearing a brace for a limited time to help reduce discomfort. Pain should usually improve after three or four weeks of wearing a brace.

The patient should not do any activity without a brace, unless he or she has a strong desire.

If pain still arises, check with the dentist if possible.

The patient might be able to wear the brace longer, and can use a splint (gluteal or thigh stabilizer).

Some patients are better able to walk while wearing a splint because of muscle strength. The patient should keep a log of his or her movements for the first week before doing anything else, and after three weeks.

If the symptoms improve, it might be caused by a condition called “osteoarthritis.” In this case, the joint is diseased or damaged.