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    Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain

    Published on July 25th, 2010

    Chronic lateral ankle pain is recurring or chronic pain on the outside part of the ankle that often develops after an injury such as a sprained ankle. Other conditions, however, may also cause chronic ankle pain.

    Signs and symptoms include:

    • Ankle instability.
    • Difficulty walking on uneven ground or in high heels.
    • Pain, sometimes intense, on the outer side of the ankle.
    • Repeated ankle sprains.
    • Stiffness.
    • Swelling.
    • Tenderness.

    While ankle sprains are the most common cause of chronic lateral ankle pain, other causes may include:

    • A fracture in one of the bones that make up the ankle joint.
    • Arthritis of the ankle joint.
    • Inflammation of the joint lining.
    • Injury to the nerves that pass through the ankle. In this case, the nerves become stretched, torn, injured by a direct blow, or pinched under pressure.
    • Scar tissue in the ankle after a sprain. The scar tissue takes up space in the joint, putting pressure on the ligaments.
    • Torn or inflamed tendon.

    Treatments for chronic lateral ankle pain include:

    • Over the counter or prescription anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling. Consult your physician before taking any medications.
    • Physical therapy, including tilt-board exercises, directed at strengthening the muscles, restoring range of motion, and increasing your perception of joint position.
    • Ankle braces or other supports.
    • Steroid medication.
    • Immobilization to allow the bone to heal (in cases of fractures).
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