Lybrate Logo
Get the App
For Doctors
Last Updated: Mar 16, 2023

Ankle Joint Pain - Know The Causes & Treatment!

Profile Image
Dr. Nandan RaoOrthopedic Doctor • 18 Years Exp.MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MS - Orthopaedics, Fellowship& Shoulder & Elbow Surgery, Fellowship In Sports Orthopaedics, Arthroscopy And Shoulder Surgery
Topic Image

Pain in ankle joints can be attributed to different sources. If there is a sudden event resulting in acute pain, it is more likely to be a sprain. If it is a chronic pain that is progressing over time, it is very likely to be due to various causes. If it is an ankle sprain, it is very likely to get well over time with treatment. If it is due to arthritis or untreated injury the outcomes may be different.

Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains result from injury to ligaments that connect the bones of the ankle. Such an injury usually happens if someone accidentally twists his/her ankle in daily life or road accidents.

Treatment for Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are accidents, and need rest, ice, compression and elevation initially. However, if there is a severe sprain or a fracture, people may also need to consult an orthopaedic surgeon and may need to wear a brace and use crutches.

Osteoarthritis of Ankle

Osteoarthritis leads to inflammation of the ankle joint. It leads to swelling around the ankle joint and soft tissue surrounding it. It can cause stiffness and pain. It leads to progressive joint deterioration as the smooth cartilage around the joints gradually loses its functionality. As a consequence, the bones in the ankle joint rub against each other giving rise to wear and tear as well as pain. It has the potential to limit motion and joint function. It may also give rise to ankle deformities.

Treatment for Ankle Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is difficult to be cured completely. Doctors may prescribe custom shoes, braces, anti-inflammatory medications and/or physical therapy to control pain and inflammation. In case of severe arthritic damage, patients may need surgery for cartilage repair, arthroplasty, etc.

Gout and other inflammatory arthritis

When uric acid deposits in the ankle joint, it gives rise to gout. Other inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis can also cause ankle pain and swelling. In these cases the pain and swelling starts on its own in a matter of days and causes severe pain.


Patients need to consult an orthopaedic surgeon/ rheumatologist, undergo blood tests and other tests to diagnose the condition and take appropriate treatment

Osteochondritis dessicans

In this condition the blood supply to bone under the cartilage reduces and causes bone death. In advanced cases the cartilage may come off and cause ankle pain and swelling. The pain starts slowly and intensity increases with time. Ankle may swell sometimes and patients may limp while walking.


Patients need to consult an orthopaedic surgeon. In initial stages rest, medications and bracing may help. In advanced stages patients may need to undergo MRI and if needed arthroscopic surgery.

Loose bodies in ankle joint

These are bony or cartilage pieces that float in joint and cause destruction of the joint. This leads to pain, swelling and stiffness of ankle. Patient may limp while walking or have locking of the joint. These loose bodies can occur due to ankle sprains, injuries in road accidents or after ankle fractures.


Loose bodies in ankle need to be removed otherwise they cause joint destruction. Most of them can be removed by arthroscopic surgery. Patients need to consult an arthroscopic orthopaedic surgeon and need to get an MRI/CT scan.


These are some of the ankle joint problems and the treatments related to it. However, it is always a great idea to consult a doctor or an orthopedic specialist for the best treatment depending upon the severity of the condition.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!

Ask a free question

Get FREE multiple opinions from Doctors

posted anonymously

Book appointment with top doctors for Joint Pain treatment

View fees, clinc timings and reviews

Treatment Enquiry

Get treatment cost, find best hospital/clinics and know other details