Front of ankle pain: Know the causes

front of ankle pain

The human body is a complicated machine of bones, muscles and nerves. Like any piece of machinery, the body is not immune from breakdowns. One such breakdown can leave you limping and wincing in pain. Do you have a sharp or throbbing pain that makes every step painful? Front of ankle pain can make movement challenging and can be caused by a number of issues and conditions. The good news is, there are effective treatments to help alleviate your pain.

Symptoms of front ankle pain

Front ankle pain can manifest in a number of ways. Each symptom is important and could be a signal to the issue causing the overall discomfort. Pain may present as:

  • Localized pain.
  • Swelling and redness.
  • Limited range of motion.
  • Difficulty bearing weight.
  • Bruising.
  • Numbness or tingling.

Root causes of front ankle pain

The reason your ankle might be causing you pain could be due to:

Who is at an increased risk of front ankle pain?

Front ankle pain can strike anyone regardless of age or gender. However, some factors can make you at a higher risk, including:

  • Athletes and active individuals — Those sports-minded people who are involved in activities that require a lot of pivoting and sudden direction changes can be at a higher risk of ankle sprains. Sports can include sprinting, jumping, football, basketball and soccer.
  • People with arthritis — People who have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can be more susceptible to front ankle pain due to joint degeneration. 
  • People with flat feet or high archesFlat feet and high arches are both structural abnormalities that present their own problems, including disrupted weight distribution and added ankle stress. Due to these issues, people with these conditions can be more vulnerable to injuries.
  • People who are overweight — Additional weight puts added strain on your ankle joints and ligaments. This added stress can increase your risk of pain and discomfort.

Preventive measures to help ward off front ankle pain

It is possible to safeguard your ankles and help keep front ankle pain from plaguing you. These preventive measures can be:

  • Proper footwear — Wearing the correct shoes to match your activity is crucial. Investing in shoes that provide you with adequate support and cushioning can also be beneficial. Proper footwear can help reduce your risk of strains and sprains.
  • Warming up and stretchingIt’s important to always warm up your muscles before doing physical activities. When you’re warming up, make sure you remember to stretch your calf and ankle muscles. Muscles with improved flexibility are less likely to fall victim to strains.
  • Strong ankle muscles — If you have a fitness routine, make sure you include ankles that target your ankle muscles. Choose exercises that can help improve your balance to boost your ankle stability. 
  • Being mindful of your surfaces — Uneven or slippery surfaces can increase your risk of falling and causing an injury to your front ankle. It’s important to watch your step when you walk or run. 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight — Keeping your weight in check can help reduce the strain on your ankles. Eat a balanced diet and participate in regular exercise to help keep a healthy weight.

Effective treatments for front ankle pain

Despite your best efforts, injuries can happen. What should you do if you are unable to prevent an ankle injury or you develop a condition that causes you front ankle pain? There are effective treatments that can help get you back on your feet:

  • Rest and ice — Getting rest is crucial for giving your body time to heal. Applying an ice pack while you’re resting can also help reduce inflammation you may be experiencing.
  • Compression and elevation — Wrapping your ankle in a compression bandage can help boost stability and provide you control over the swelling. Elevating your leg can help reduce the fluid buildup. 
  • Medications — Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen can help provide you with pain relief and reduce inflammation. It is crucial to consult your health care provider if you take medications for an extended period of time. 
  • Physical therapyPhysical therapy can do wonders for front ankle pain. Physical therapists can use a variety of exercises, stretches and other techniques to help strengthen your ankles and boost your stability.
  • Bracing or orthotics — If you are in need of extra support and stability, ankle braces or custom orthotics can provide you with it. These supports can also help reduce your risk of future injuries. 

Physical therapy for front ankle pain

Physical therapy techniques can be incredibly beneficial in helping front ankle pain no matter the underlying issue. Techniques can include:

  • Therapeutic exercises — Specifically chosen strengthening and stretching exercises can help the muscles around your ankle. They can help strengthen your muscles and improve your flexibility, providing you with stability and pain relief.
  • Manual therapy Manual therapy techniques like soft tissue mobilization and joint mobilization can help promote healing and alleviate pain. 
  • Running programA running program can help improve any mechanical issues that are causing your pain. This can help improve your strength and flexibility to help alleviate your pain and reduce your chances of future injury. 

Front of ankle pain can be a hurdle in your life — Excel Sports & Physical Therapy can help you jump it

Excel Sports & Physical Therapy can be your partner on your healing journey to overcome front ankle pain. Our team of expert physical therapists can help guide you through a treatment plan that helps address not only your symptoms but also the root cause of your pain. Under our guidance, you can learn the ways to help support your ankle during your healing and the best ways that can help you prevent future injuries or worsening conditions. Our commitment is not bound by the walls of our clinics; we are invested in helping you celebrate every milestone of your recovery. 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.