Ankle Pain

Ankle pain refers to discomfort or soreness experienced in the ankle joint, often caused by injuries like sprains, strains, or fractures. It can also result from underlying conditions such as arthritis or tendonitis.

Ankle Pain
Ankle Pain
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Your Guide to Understanding Ankle Pain

What is Ankle Pain?

Ankle pain is a common condition characterized by discomfort or soreness in the ankle joint. It can occur as a result of various factors, including injuries, overuse, or underlying medical conditions. The ankle joint is made up of bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles that work together to provide stability and support. When any of these structures are damaged or strained, it can lead to pain and limited mobility.

One of the primary causes of ankle pain is injury, particularly ankle sprains. An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments supporting the joint are stretched or torn due to sudden twisting or rolling of the ankle. This can cause pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty bearing weight on the affected foot. In more severe cases, a fracture may occur, leading to intense pain and the inability to move or put weight on the ankle.

Apart from injuries, certain medical conditions can also contribute to ankle pain. Arthritis, for example, can affect the ankle joint, leading to chronic pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, occurs due to wear and tear of the joint cartilage over time. Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, can also affect the ankle joint and cause pain and swelling.

Tendonitis is another condition that can cause ankle pain. It involves inflammation or irritation of the tendons surrounding the ankle, often resulting from repetitive activities or overuse. Tendonitis can cause pain, swelling, and tenderness in the ankle area, and may limit movement and impact daily activities.

To manage ankle pain, a comprehensive approach is usually employed. This can include rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) to reduce swelling and inflammation. Pain management techniques such as over-the-counter pain medications, topical creams, or prescribed pain relievers may be recommended. Physical therapy is often utilized to strengthen the muscles around the ankle, improve flexibility, and restore normal function. In some cases, immobilization through the use of braces or casts may be necessary to support the ankle and promote healing.

How can Chiropractic help treat Ankle Pain?

Chiropractic services play a crucial role in alleviating ankle pain by addressing the underlying causes. Chiropractors utilize manual adjustments and manipulations to realign the joints and restore proper function, reducing pain and inflammation in the ankle. Additionally, they may use soft tissue techniques such as myofascial release or trigger point therapy to relieve muscle tension and promote healing.

Chiropractors also provide personalized exercise programs to strengthen the surrounding muscles and improve stability, helping to prevent future ankle injuries. By taking a holistic approach, chiropractic services can effectively alleviate ankle pain and improve overall ankle health.

What causes Ankle Pain?

Ankle pain can be caused by various factors, including injuries and underlying medical conditions. One of the most common causes is an ankle sprain, which occurs when the ligaments supporting the ankle joint are stretched or torn due to sudden movements like twisting or rolling the ankle. This can lead to pain, swelling, and difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected foot.

Fractures are another cause of ankle pain. A fracture happens when one or more of the bones in the ankle joint break, usually as a result of a significant force or impact. Fractures can cause severe pain, swelling, and sometimes deformity, making it difficult to move or put weight on the ankle.

Other factors that can contribute to ankle pain include overuse injuries and repetitive strain. Activities that involve repetitive motions or excessive stress on the ankle joint, such as running, jumping, or participating in sports, can lead to inflammation and discomfort. Additionally, medical conditions like arthritis, tendonitis, and bursitis can cause chronic ankle pain due to inflammation and damage to the structures within the joint.

What treatments might help Ankle Pain?

The treatment for ankle pain aims to alleviate pain, promote healing, and improve the overall condition of the ankle. Here are some common approaches that can help improve ankle pain:


Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with ankle pain. However, it is important to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare professional if needed.

Rest and Immobilization

Giving the affected ankle sufficient rest is crucial for recovery. Avoid activities that aggravate the pain and consider using crutches or a brace to immobilize the ankle, depending on the severity of the pain.

Ice and Heat Therapy

Applying cold compresses or ice packs to the ankle can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Heat therapy, such as warm towel compresses, may also be beneficial in some cases to relax muscles and increase blood flow.

Physical Therapy and Exercises

Working with a physical therapist can help improve ankle strength, flexibility, and stability through targeted exercises. These exercises can aid in rehabilitation, restore range of motion, and prevent future injuries.

Supportive Devices

Wearing supportive shoes or using orthotic inserts can provide additional cushioning, stability, and proper alignment for the ankle. Ankle braces or wraps may also be recommended to support the joint during activities or while healing.

Lifestyle Modifications

Making certain modifications in daily activities can help reduce stress on the ankle joint. This may include avoiding high-impact activities, maintaining a healthy weight, and practicing good posture and body mechanics.

Signs of Ankle Pain:

Signs of ankle pain can manifest in various ways, indicating discomfort or issues with the ankle joint. Here are some common signs to look out for:


Ankle pain may range from mild to severe and can be felt as a dull ache, sharp stabbing sensation, or throbbing pain around the ankle area.


Swelling around the ankle is a typical sign of ankle pain. The affected area may appear swollen, puffy, or visibly larger than the unaffected ankle.


If the ankle pain is caused by an injury, bruising may occur around the ankle joint. The skin may show discoloration, usually turning blue, purple, or black.

Limited Range of Motion

Ankle pain can lead to a decrease in the ability to move the ankle joint freely. You may experience stiffness, difficulty bending or straightening the foot, or feel restricted in performing certain movements.


Ankle pain can cause a feeling of instability or weakness in the affected ankle. You may find it challenging to maintain balance or feel that your ankle gives way unexpectedly.

Difficulty Bearing Weight

Ankle pain can make it difficult or painful to put weight on the affected foot. Walking, standing, or participating in activities that involve weight-bearing may become uncomfortable or nearly impossible.

Warmth and Redness

In some cases, the skin around the ankle may become warm to the touch and appear reddened. This can be a sign of inflammation or infection.

Symptoms of Ankle Pain:

The symptoms of ankle pain can vary depending on the cause and severity of the condition. Here are some common symptoms to be aware of:


Ankle pain itself is a primary symptom. It may range from mild discomfort to severe, sharp pain. The pain can be localized to the ankle joint or radiate to the surrounding areas.


Ankle pain often accompanies swelling around the affected area. The ankle may appear swollen, puffy, or feel tender to the touch.


Ankle pain can lead to stiffness in the joint, making it difficult to move or flex the foot. You may feel resistance or tightness when attempting to bend or straighten the ankle.

Redness and Warmth

Inflammation can cause the skin around the ankle to become red and warm to the touch. This can be a sign of an underlying issue.

Difficulty Walking or Bearing Weight

Ankle pain can make it challenging to walk or put weight on the affected foot. You may experience limping or a noticeable change in your gait.


Some individuals with ankle pain may perceive a sense of instability or a feeling that the ankle is giving way. This can affect balance and increase the risk of falls.

Limited Range of Motion

Decreased flexibility and reduced range of motion in the ankle joint are common symptoms of ankle pain. Movements such as pointing the toes downward or upward may be restricted or cause increased discomfort.

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When is the right time to see a Chiropractor for Ankle Pain?

It is recommended to see a chiropractor for ankle pain when the pain is persistent, worsens over time, or significantly affects your daily activities and quality of life. If you have tried home remedies such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) and the pain does not improve within a few days, seeking professional care is advisable.

Additionally, if you experience severe pain, swelling, or difficulty bearing weight on the affected ankle, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional promptly. They can evaluate the extent of the injury or condition and provide appropriate treatment and guidance.

It is also beneficial to seek the expertise of these healthcare professionals if you have recurrent ankle pain or a history of ankle injuries. They can help identify any underlying imbalances, weaknesses, or faulty movement patterns that may be contributing to the pain and provide targeted interventions to address these issues.

Meet our Lead Chiropractor

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Dr. Brett Herlehy


Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College

Dr. Brett enjoys working with active individuals looking to reach the next level and also anyone who is trying to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.

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Physiotherapist Brittany Pereira working with client at Anchor Health and Performance Clinic Mississauga
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