Chronic lateral ankle pain is recurring or chronic pain on the outside part of the ankle that often develops after an injury such as a sprained ankle. Other conditions, however, may also cause chronic ankle pain.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Ankle instability.
- Difficulty walking on uneven ground or in high heels.
- Pain, sometimes intense, on the outer side of the ankle.
- Repeated ankle sprains.
While ankle sprains are the most common cause of chronic lateral ankle pain, other causes may include:
- A fracture in one of the bones that make up the ankle joint.
- Arthritis of the ankle joint.
- Inflammation of the joint lining.
- Injury to the nerves that pass through the ankle. In this case, the nerves become stretched, torn, injured by a direct blow, or pinched under pressure.
- Scar tissue in the ankle after a sprain. The scar tissue takes up space in the joint, putting pressure on the ligaments.
- Torn or inflamed tendon.
Treatments for chronic lateral ankle pain include:
- Over the counter or prescription anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling. Consult your physician before taking any medications.
- Physical therapy, including tilt-board exercises, directed at strengthening the muscles, restoring range of motion, and increasing your perception of joint position.
- Ankle braces or other supports.
- Steroid medication.
- Immobilization to allow the bone to heal (in cases of fractures).