Recurring or persistent (chronic) pain on the outer (lateral) side of the ankle often develops after a twisting injury. Pathology affecting a number of different structures, either alone or in combination, can explain this pain.
Commonly injured tissues include:
Other causes of chronic pain in the ankle include:
The first step for a doctor, in identifying the cause of chronic ankle pain, is taking a history of the condition. Questions, such as the following, may be asked:
Treatment will depend on the final diagnosis and should be personalised to an individual’s needs. Both nonoperative and surgical treatment methods may be used.
Non-operative methods include:
Whilst the risk of any re-injury will depend on the underlying condition, some general principles are worth considering.
Following a ligament reconstruction for instability, wearing an ankle brace (sports brace) whilst training and competing in sports which involve running and pivoting, for at least the first few months, can help prevent further injury. Similarly, wearing sturdy, supportive, well-fitting shoes and avoiding loose, rough and unstable surfaces can be beneficial!
High impact, pivoting sports should always be avoided until an ankle is fully rehabilitated! This means an absence of stiffness, weakness and balance problems, with all other activities. A good physiotherapist is ideally placed to give the “green light” for a return to sport, always in a graded fashion.
All surgical procedures involve risks. The information provided here is for general educational purposes only. For specific advice regarding a chronically sprained ankle, please book an appointment with Dr Newman.