Some ankle injuries are acute and caused by a single action. For example, perhaps you slip and twist your ankle, resulting in a sprain. Other ankle problems seem to appear out of nowhere, but they nag and nag you. Maybe you wake up every day to an achy ankle, or perhaps it always gets sore after you've been on your feet for a few hours. Just because you don't remember injuring your ankle does not mean nothing is wrong or that the pain is all in your head. Here's a look at some of the most common causes of nagging and frequent ankle soreness.
The most prominent tendon in your ankle is the Achilles tendon, which runs from your heel to calf. However, there are also smaller tendons on either side of your ankle. Ongoing soreness could be due to tendinitis, an inflammation of one of these ankle tendons. Tendinitis is most common in athletes and those who spend a lot of time walking for work. It may be most noticeable in the morning but subside (without disappearing completely) once you warm up. Luckily, taking it easy for a few weeks and icing the sore spot should cause the tendinitis to subside.
Does the pain seem to get worse at night? Is your ankle red, and are you also experiencing pain in other foot joints, such as your big toe? You could be dealing with a condition called gout, which causes a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. Gout can cause permanent joint damage if not treated, but luckily, dietary modification is an effective treatment for most patients. If diagnosed, you'll need to avoid any food that is high in purines, such as red meat, beer, and sugar.
Are you an older adult who has led a very active life? If the pain is accompanied by a lot of stiffness, and it seems to subside a bit as you move your ankle around, you could be dealing with a case of osteoarthritis. This is characterized by a breakdown of the cartilage in your ankle joints. There's no cure for arthritis, but there are a lot of treatments that can ease the pain, including physical therapy, topical creams, and oral pain relievers.
If you are dealing with ongoing ankle pain, the best way to figure out the root cause is to contact a foot specialist. They can conduct a few tests, give you a diagnosis, and prescribe an effective treatment.
Reach out to a local foot and ankle specialist for more information.