Typically, ankle pain is caused by an injury. Common ankle injuries include strains, sprains, fractures, and Achilles tendonitis. Other medical conditions may also result in ankle pain. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and even gout can affect the ankle joint, making it stiff, swollen, and inflamed. Systemic conditions like poor circulation or peripheral neuropathy may cause ankle pain, numbness, or tingling.
The best way to know if your ankle pain is serious is to consult with a podiatrist near you. Signs that you should seek the care of a podiatrist as soon as possible include ankle pain that is severe or gets worse over time, significant swelling, or pain and swelling that comes on suddenly. You should also see a podiatrist if you are unable to bear weight on the ankle or if it is showing signs of infection such as redness and warmth.
Specific treatments will depend on the underlying cause of the ankle pain. At home, your doctor may suggest that you follow the R.I.C.E. acronym and rest, ice, compress, and elevate the affected ankle. Footwear and activity modifications are often recommended to relieve symptoms and encourage healing. More serious injuries, like an ankle fracture, can require immobilizing the affected ankle in a cast, splint, or boot. Sometimes, surgery is required to repair severe fractures, sprains, or ankle arthritis.
The time it takes for ankle pain to go away depends on the cause and severity of the underlying issue. For a less serious injury, it may take a week or more for pain to go away completely. Severe injuries can take several months to fully heal. Chronic conditions, like arthritis, are not curable, but symptoms can be managed with proper care. For best results, it is suggested that you follow the treatment plan given to you by your doctor.