The ankle joint is where the foot and leg bones meet. It is responsible for the foot’s up and down motion. Pain in the ankle can be caused by inflammation or injury to structures such as the bones, cartilage, joint space, muscles, or ligaments. Other symptoms of ankle pain include swelling, redness, bruising, instability, and numbness. Knowing what caused your foot and ankle pain is important to get the proper treatment. Ankle pain can be caused by any of the following:

Rheumatoid Arthritis

The body’s immune system works by combating germs but it can attack the joints by mistake, causing rheumatoid arthritis. This condition usually impacts the same joint on both sides of the body. This means that if your ankle pain is caused by this form of arthritis, you experience the pain in both ankles. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms like swelling, pain, and stiffness usually begin in the toes and the front part of the foot and tend to move back to the ankle. It can be relieved by exercise that includes physical therapy.

Sprain

If the ligaments which hold together your ankle bones are torn, you will be suffering from pain. This usually takes place if your foot rolls sideways. If sprained, the ankle can swell and bruise. If your sprain is light, it can get better in just a few days. But, if your condition gets worse, your doctor may recommend that you wear a walking boot and undergo physical therapy.

If the ligament does not heal properly following a sprain and stays weak, you may suffer from chronic lateral ankle pain. Treatments for this condition will depend on what caused it but they are likely to include special exercises and rest.

Osteoarthritis

This disease develops as the cartilage which covers the end of every bone is worn. As the cushion provided by the cartilage is gone, the bones tend to rub directly against each other, resulting in pain, loss of motion, and stiffness. It is possible for your physician to prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines and steroid shots to decrease swelling, recommend braces to minimize your ankle’s movement and physical therapy to help you perform strengthening exercises. A surgery might be recommended but a non-surgical therapy like stem cell therapy is also an option.

Fracture

The ankle is made up of the tibia, talus, and fibula bones. When one of these bones is cracked or broken, you will experience pain, swelling, and bruising. Although walking might still be a possibility with a broken ankle, it will be difficult. Your doctor will decide the best kind of treatment for you. They might want to provide you with a cast or splint so your bones are kept in place.

Bursitis

The ankle has fluid-filled sacs which cushion the space between the bones and tendons. These components can get inflamed because of arthritis, high-heeled shoes, overuse, footwear changes, and other causes, making your ankle feeling stiff, warm, swollen, and tender. Ice therapy can help in relieving the symptoms but your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines to ease the swelling and pain.