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Ankle pain

Written by Healthwords's team of doctors and pharmacists based in UK | Updated: 21.02.2023 | 2 min read

Ankle pain is common, and there are many different causes. If you have had a trauma like a high-impact sports injury, there may be the possibility of a broken bone. If you have not had any trauma, there are many different causes, such as skin problems, joint problems like arthritis or gout, muscle and tendon problems like Achilles tendinopathy, and many more. If you have severe pain or pain that is not subsiding with simple pain relief, you may need to seek advice from your doctor.

Do I need an X-ray?

If you have had a traumatic injury and have severe pain, you may require an X-ray. Symptoms suggest a fracture if you cannot stand on the injured foot, the foot appears to be at a different angle than normal, and there's significant bruising and swelling around the area.

Tight or badly fitting footwear and simple strains and sprains can be common causes of ankle pain, and these usually require only treatment at home.

Caidr pharmacists' top tips

Caidr pharmacists' top tips:

Resting the foot, raising it up, and taking some simple pain relief, such as acetaminophen, is a good place to start. If an injury occurs, an ice pack or bag of peas wrapped in a tea towel may provide some relief.

Your pharmacist is an expert and can recommend further treatments such as different painkillers, topical treatments, or support for the injured ankle.

When should I see my doctor?

Most causes of ankle pain will improve with some self-treatment. If you still have pain that is not improving after two weeks, then book a routine appointment with your doctor to discuss this.

You should seek more urgent medical attention if you have severe pain. If you are concerned you have suffered a fracture or have had a high-impact injury to your ankle, you will likely require an X-ray.

If you have severe symptoms such as numbness, weakness, fevers, or a break to the skin and have diabetes, you should seek urgent medical advice from your doctor or 911.

What will my doctor do?

The doctor will ask about your symptoms, your medical history, any relevant family medical history, and what medications you take. They will examine your ankles, check your temperature, and potentially do other tests such as a blood test and possibly an X-ray.

If you go to a hospital, a doctor or nurse will examine you, and if there is a concern your ankle has a fracture, you will have an X-ray and various other tests. If a fracture is confirmed, you will be advised of the best next step.

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