Ankle pain (no history of injury)

Ankle pain may exist when there is no history of injury but be present due to overuse from particular sports such as football or ballet.

The pain can be at the front, inside (medial) or outside (lateral). The most common cause of medial ankle pain is tendon overuse (eg posterior tibial tendon). Lateral ankle pain is often associated with lateral instability and poor lower limb mechanics, often resulting in tendon problems such as peroneal tendons. Pain in the front of the ankle tends to be tibialis anterior tendonitis, whilst achilles tendonitis is the main cause of pain at the back of the ankle.

There are also less common causes where there can be an impingement or pinching of the soft tissues or a nerve which can give rise to pain.

Treatment for the most common cause of tendon problems include mobilization, therapeutic modalities such as transverse massage, strengthening exercises and insoles to correct any biomechanical abnormalities, and advice on which activities to avoid that may aggravate it.

Other treatable common causes of ankle pain are:

  • flexor hallucis/digitorum longus tendinopathy
  • tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • impingement syndromes
  • tibialis anterior tendinopathy