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Your ankle is an intricate network of bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Strong enough to bear your body weight and enable you to move, your ankle can be prone to injury and pain. This pain could be caused by an injury, like a sprain, or by a medical condition, such as gout or arthritis.
According to the National University of Health Sciences (NUHS), an ankle sprain is one of the most common causes of ankle pain — making up 85 percent of all ankle injuries.
A sprain is generally caused when the ankle rolls or twists so that the outside ankle moves toward the ground, tearing the ligaments of the ankle that hold the bones together. Rolling the ankle can also cause damage to the cartilage or tendons of your ankle. Tendons and Ligaments take longer to heal than muscles. Muscles can feel better in 2-6 weeks, Ligaments and Tendons can take 6-12 weeks. If during your recovery you re-injure your ankle you can double the healing time up to 3-12 months. Chronic re-injury can lead to your ankle being permanently weaker and less stable than the other ankle. According to a paper published by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the greatest risk factor for ankle sprain is having a previous ankle sprain.
Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in the body. This higher than normal concentration of uric acid (a by-product of the body’s normal breakdown of old cells) can deposit crystals in the joints, causing sharp pain. Pseudogout is a similar condition where calcium deposits build up in the joints. Symptoms of both gout and pseudogout include pain, swelling, and redness.
Arthritis can also cause ankle pain. Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints. Multiple types of arthritis can cause pain in the ankles, but osteoarthritis is the most common. Osteoarthritis is often caused by wear and tear on the joints. The older people are, the more likely they are to develop osteoarthritis.
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