Answering Foot and Ankle Pain Based on Where It Hurts. What Could It Be?

ankle pain

ankle pain

Foot and Ankle pain can happen for many reasons. Depending on your activities and everyday wear and tear on your ankles and feet. Your foot and ankle may become stiff or swell and be so painful that you are unable to walk comfortably.

 If it is not too severe and surgery is not needed, resting and using ice to help decrease inflammation can be helpful. 

Physical therapy can help you to strengthen your foot and ankle and help you to treat current pain and prevent future injury. Foot and Ankle pain is very common for people over 50 and is involved in playing sports 

Avoid foot pain with these 2 important tips.

Areas of Foot and Ankle Pain and what it may mean

Anterior ankle pain-In front of the ankle

This condition is common among athletes. It is frequently seen in soccer, football, runners, and ballet dancers. It may be caused by a buildup of scar tissue usually from a past sprain or an acute injury. 

You may experience this pain when squatting or climbing the stairs. This pain can be felt when bending the ankle or flexing your foot forward pushing your toes out.

Watch this video about our past patient’s success.

Medial ankle pain-Inside of the ankle

Medial ankle pain usually occurs when the ankle is twisted or rolled, resulting in a sprain or fracture. This can result in swelling of the ankle and bruising. Over time this pain can cause instability when walking and balance issues. 

Less immediate ankle pain can be caused by arthritis located on the inside of the ankle. Other injuries common on the inside of the ankle include posterior tibialis tendonitis, shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome. 

Posterior ankle pain-Behind the ankle 

When you’re experiencing pain at the back of your ankle this may result from compression of the soft tissue or bone. Impingement can be a result of an injury or due to arthritis. If you are lacking a range of motion to your ankle try some light stretches and balance exercises.  Common injuries in this location include Achilles tendon injuries, sever’s disease in young athletes and heel pain.

Lateral ankle pain-Outside of the ankle

Lateral ankle pain may occur from a past injury such as an injury to the nerves that pass through the ankle, a torn tendon, or arthritis.  

Symptoms of this pain may include ankle instability, or difficulty walking. A lateral ankle sprain is one of the most common injuries to the ankle.  Another common ankle injury is a peroneal tendon tear or peroneal tendonitis.  Peroneal muscles are responsible for stabilizing the ankle and preventing ankle sprains.  Sometimes when our feet get flat and our muscles get weak we can begin to fray the tendon across the foot bones which leads to a tear.  

Watch this video to learn more about an exercise to help you stabilize your ankle.

How to Treat Ankle Pain

The easiest way to treat ankle pain is through (RICE). This stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevate. If your ankle starts to swell make sure you apply ice and elevate your foot. 

You can do this by laying down or sitting in a chair and having your leg be higher than your heart. Use a stack of pillows or blankets to elevate your foot. You can also apply an ice pack to the ankle as well. 

Stay off your ankle if putting pressure on it is too painful. If you’re experiencing swelling try to use a compression device to reduce the swelling of the ankle.

If the pain is getting worse or coming back you may need to see a doctor and make sure nothing is broken or fractured.

How can I treat ankle pain?

Ankle pain can be solved without surgery, injections, and painkillers. Physical therapy is very beneficial for anyone suffering from any pain.

If you’ve had ankle surgery in the past or know you have to get one in the future physical therapy can help to strengthen the ankle to get you back to the way it was before.

At Preferred Physical Therapy in Glendale, Arizona you receive individualized care and hands-on time with your physical therapists. Our client specialist first spent time with you to complete a phone call and go over what is really important to you and what you have been going through. 

After your phone call, you will schedule a discovery visit to learn more about what is going on and to get to see how you would work with us.

After that, you plan your first visit where you will get exercises fit for your needs and hands-on treatment from one of our physical therapists. 


Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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