Ankle Pain

Ankle Pain Foot Diagram Image

Ankle Pain Causes - The Anatomy of Your Ankle

The ankle is made up of 3 bones that are connected by muscles, ligaments, and tendons: the Tibia, Fibula and Talus. When suffering from ankle pain, it is these connective tissues between the bones that is damaged and is one of the most common ankle pain causes, aside from fracturing/breaking the bones themselves.

  • The Tibia is the large bone located on the inside of the shin
  • The Fibula is the thinner bone on the outside of the shin
  • The ends of the Tibia and Fibula are joined together by a strong ligament to form a socket called the ankle mortise.
  • The talus is the highest placed bone of the foot. It has a dome that fits inside the ankle mortise (socket).
  • Together these 3 bones form the ankle joint.

Articular cartilage is the smooth shiny material present anywhere that two bony surfaces come into contact with each other. In the ankle, articular cartilage covers the end of the Tibia, the dome of the Talus and the bottom part of the Fibula. Articular cartilage allows the ankle bones to move easily as the ankle bends up or down. The ligaments around the ankle joint are like strong ropes that help connect the bones and provide stability to the joint.

In the ankle, there are 3 ligaments on the outside and one broad ligament on the inside aspect of the ankle. Common severe ankle pain causes usually occur when people injure the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. To help reduce the impact of this, at FootActive we provide a range of orthotic insoles to help prevent common ankle pain causes and provide ankle pain relief to help with recovery.


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Different Types of Ankle Bone Pain

Ankle bone pain is a common foot complaint as our ankles are consistently working to help support the body in all manner of activities. Generally, there are two types of ankle pain: acute ankle pain and chronic ankle pain.

  • Acute ankle bone pain is usually a result of trauma or injury. One of the most common ankle pain injuries is a sprained ankle. It is an injury that is most often suffered while playing sports (e.g. football, basketball, tennis) or during running or athletics. It occurs because the ankle twists, causing damage to the ligaments and tissue surrounding the ankle. Although quite painful, an ankle sprain will usually heal itself within a matter of weeks by simply resting the foot.

  • Chronic ankle pain on the other hand is a long-term foot complaint. Severe ankle pain is experienced either on the inside of the ankle (medial ankle pain) or on the outside (lateral ankle pain). This can make general mobility difficult without adequate ankle pain relief.


Medial Ankle Pain

Medial ankle bone pain can be caused by stress on the tendons and nerves passing through the ankle region.

  • Pain occurs on weight-bearing and worsens with intense activity, such as running and sports.
  • Sometimes a sharp ankle bone pain is felt, radiating into the arch of the foot.
  • Typically, medial ankle pain causes come from too much exercise (overuse injury) and/or over-pronation.

Lateral Ankle Pain

Lateral ankle pain occurs on the outside of the ankle and can feel worse during any form of movement.

  • Lateral ankle pain can be felt through walking, running and exercise
  • Often caused by compression of the soft tissue (tendons and ligaments) that wrap around the outside of the ankle
  • It occurs as a result of poor foot mechanics, i.e. excessive pronation.


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Pronation and Supination – Severe Ankle Pain Causes

Pronation and supination are both natural motions and play an important role in our gait (manner of walking):

  • Pronation (rolling in) acts as a shock-absorbing process
  • Supination (rolling out) helps to propel our feet forward.

Unfortunately, most people suffer from over-pronation, or "excessive pronation" which can lead to severe ankle pain if left untreated.

  • Over-pronation occurs when we pronate too deep and for too long, not giving the foot a chance to 'recover' and supinate.
  • As a result, over-pronation hampers normal foot biomechanics and puts excess force and stress on the joints and ligaments in the foot and ankle.
  • Excessive pronation forces the talus bone to abnormally sit in the joint space.
  • Over time this will cause a premature erosion of the articular cartilage, in the same manner that unbalanced tyres on a car will cause premature damage to the tread of the tyres.
  • Over-pronation can cause compression of the ligaments around the ankle joint, causing chronic ankle pain and discomfort.


Ankle Pain Relief - Treatment For Ankle Bone Pain

A simple solution that provides sufficient ankle pain relief is the use of orthotics. These are shoe inserts designed to change the function and biomechanics of the foot and ankle.

  • Orthotics can help relieve foot and ankle pain by improving the alignment of the lower limb.
  • They provide stability and cushioning at the same time.
  • Orthotics can be custom-made by a podiatrist, or in many cases, pre-made orthotics are used.
  • Pre-made orthotics can be equally effective in the treatment of chronic ankle pain or foot complaints but are a fraction of the cost of custom-made orthotics.

At FootActive, we provide pre-made orthotic insoles designed to prevent over-pronation and re-align the lower limb. By correcting any abnormal foot biomechanics, FootActive orthotics reduce unnatural friction and pressure in the ankle joint, thereby preventing excessive erosion of the articulate cartilage as well as compression of the soft tissue around the ankle joint.

If you suffer from ankle bone pain or have other related issues such as heel pain, knee pain or other general foot pain, we can help. If you need any help or advice, please get in touch and we’ll help to match the right products to your foot or leg issue and provide our expertise.

Ankle Pain FAQs

How Long Does Ankle Pain Last?

Like any injury or sprain, how long you suffer with ankle pain will vary between individuals depending on how you treat and rest your ankle. On its own, ankle pain should feel better within a couple of weeks, but this is as long as you avoid strenuous exercise and do not damage any ligaments further.

Is Ankle Pain Gout?

Ankle pain and gout are both separate conditions, but if you have gout this can develop on any joint including the ankle. Gout is a form of arthritis that commonly affects the big toe but can lead to severe pain in other joints such as knees, hands, and feet. If you have other symptoms aside from ankle bone pain, this could indicate you have gout.

Can Ankle Pain Cause Knee Pain?

If you have ankle pain, this won’t necessarily mean you will have other joint pain, but it can lead to other joints feeling sore too, especially if you injure your knee at the same time as your ankle. If you adjusted the way you walk to compensate for a sore ankle, for example, this may put more pressure on your knee as well. Using orthotic insoles can help alleviate ankle pain and help you walk normally to reduce pain on your knee.

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