Ankle sprains occur when ligaments are twisted, torn or stretched by extreme pressure on the ankle bone and joint. Depending on the severity of the sprain, these injuries can cause residual ankle joint pain on the outside of the ankle—called chronic lateral ankle pain—if they’re not cared for appropriately.
If a sprain occurs, one can experience intense pain in the ankle, bruising, swelling, and inability to walk. The ankle should be elevated, iced, and wrapped. An x-ray is needed to evaluate for possible fractures.
MRI can be used to determine if any of the ligaments are torn. If the ligaments are not torn, conservative treatment is started. When the ligaments are torn, a surgical repair is needed.
Here are some symptoms of chronic lateral ankle pain:
Persistent pain or tenderness on the outside of the ankle, often accompanied by tightness and swelling
Trouble walking on unlevel surfaces, or general instability in the ankle
Repeated ankle sprains
Ankle joint giving way without warning
Ankle Sprain Video
Your chronic lateral ankle pain may be treated by:
Anti-inflammatory or steroid medications
Exercises—often through physical therapy—that can strengthen the ankle ligaments, restore joint mobility, and build your awareness of joint position