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5 Reasons Behind Your Ankle Joint Pain

As Serena Williams, Paul George and Keri Strung can attest, ankle injuries can be devastating. But it’s not just athletes who experience ankle joint pain. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or an athlete, more than likely, you’ll experience ankle joint pain at some point in your life. 

In fact, according to the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), about 28,000 ankle injuries occur every day in the United States.

Ankle Joint Pain? These 5 Reasons Could Be to Blame

Not all ankle injuries require doctor care, but ankle joint pain can be difficult to diagnose on your own. Depending on the cause, ankle pain can manifest as sharp, shooting pain or a dull achy pain. 

Although ankle injuries are common, in many cases, individuals can return to full functionality with proper rehabilitation. From stress fractures to sprained ankles to chronic medical conditions such as arthritis, here are five reasons behind your ankle joint pain and what to do about it. 

1. It’s an Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are the number one sports injury. They occur when a ligament in the ankle stretch to tear. Ankle sprains can occur in any sport or activity. However, they are most common in sports that involve jumping in close proximity to other players and/or fast changes in direction while running, such as football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball. The injured area may be swollen, bruised and tender to the touch. For mild sprains, treatment typically includes PRICE (protect, rest, ice, compression, elevation). All ankle sprains benefit from physical therapy intervention.  Low grade sprains not properly rehabilitated may set the stage of chronic ankle instability and future more severe sprains.   

2. It’s an Ankle Strain

Although they sound alike, sprains and strains are different injuries. Ankle strains occur when the muscle or tendon becomes overstretched or tears. It can be difficult to self-diagnose the difference between a sprain and a strain, but some differentiating symptoms of a strain include muscle spasms, cramping, weakness and swelling. Initial treatment includes PRICE followed by physical therapy to regain preinjury functional ability.

3. It’s a Fracture

Ankle joint pain that kicks in after a fall or a hard blow to the ankle, followed by localized swelling and sharp pain that won’t go away, could mean a break. Nagging pain with some swelling could be a stress fracture due to an overuse injury from repetitive motions. Treatment plans will vary based on the severity of the injury, but will include cutting back on activity and physical therapy to develop and implement a plan for a sensible return to  those activities.

4. It’s a Form of Arthritis

Whether you’re suffering from arthritis, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, it’s common to experience pain, stiffness and swelling in the foot and ankle joints. Although these conditions commonly affect older individuals, they can affect all ages. Osteoarthritis should be considered especially in the case of obesity or an overuse injury.

5. It’s Not Your Ankle After All

If you have ankle joint pain, it’s easy to assume you have an ankle injury. But, surprisingly, the problem may be coming from somewhere else. For example, if you have an irritated nerve or herniated disc in your back, symptoms may show up as pain or tingling in your ankle. If you suspect that your ankle pain may be because of a spinal issue, discover how physical therapy can help. 

See More Ankle Conditions

See More Foot Conditions

Overcome Your Ankle Joint Pain and Get Back on Your Feet

At Twin Boro, we take the time to properly evaluate and treat our patients dealing with ankle joint pain to help them find relief and regain functional ability. If ankle pain is putting an end to your game, contact us today to find out how the Physical Therapy team at Twin Boro in New Jersey can help. We invite you to schedule your no-obligation appointment at one of our 23 convenient clinics. Call us at1-732-444-3578 to schedule your appointment today.

Twin Boro Physical Therapy: Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey

Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey, Twin Boro has provided NJ residents with high quality physical therapy and rehab for over 39 years! It’s our award-winning approach, proven results and reputation that sets us apart. By incorporating the One2Four program into each patient’s program, the latest and most reliable scientific research and techniques are incorporated into effective evidence-based practice. We deliver only the highest standard of care with the unique One2Four approach.

It’s no surprise that Twin Boro Physical Therapy has also been voted the best physical therapy practice in New Jersey by the readers of

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