3 Common Ankle Injuries: Which One Is Plaguing You?

Does your ankle hurt? Most people are quick to say they have a sprained or strained ankle at the first sign of ankle pain, but in fact, not all ankle pain is due to a sprain. There are actually four common ankle injuries, and it's important to figure out which one you're really dealing with so you can seek the proper ankle injury treatment.

Achilles Bursitis

The Achilles tendon is that large tendon that runs down the back of your ankle, connecting your calf to your heel. If the ankle pain you are experiencing is centered on the spot where your Achilles tendon connects to your heel, you probably have a condition called Achilles bursitis. This occurs when the bursa, which is the outer covering of the tendon where it ties into your heel, becomes inflamed.

Achilles bursitis often occurs due to overuse. It's common in runners and other athletes. If you ice the area a few times per day and take a week or two off from athletics, it should get better. If the pain does not go away with this conservative treatment, you might need a cortisone injection to bring the pain and inflammation down.

Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle occurs when you pull on and damage one of the ligaments that connects two bones in your ankle. A sprain occurs as the result of a quick movement, such as a pivot or a quick turn on your ankle. The pain usually comes on suddenly and is isolated to either the inside or outside of your ankle. You will notice some swelling, but it should not be too extensive. 

Serious sprains can make it difficult or impossible to walk. Milder ones may just make walking a little painful for a few days. To manage a sprain, start by staying off your feet, wearing an ankle brace when you do need to walk, and icing the area a few times per day. If you do not feel better in a week or two, you may need to have the damaged ligament surgically repaired.

Fractured Ankle

The third possibility is that you fractured your ankle. If the joint immediately swelled up after you suddenly twisted or landed on it funny, you probably have a break. The pain may radiate through your whole ankle, but is worse when you press on a certain spot. 

A fractured ankle requires professional care. Your doctor will need to make sure the bone is set, and then they will fit you with a walking boot or cast to wear for a few weeks.