What’s causing your inside ankle pain? (and how PT can treat it)

Inside ankle pain can be caused by a multitude of factors and it is not just caused by injuries. Symptoms like stiffness, swelling and inside ankle pain can be short-lived or they can become chronic. To understand what may be causing your inside ankle pain, you’ll need to start by thinking about your recent ankle symptoms. 

This can help you identify the cause better as you read about the inside ankle pain causes in this post. Having a solid grasp on your symptoms is also crucial if you’re going to discuss your symptoms with a physical therapist or other medical professional.

Injuries that can cause inside ankle pain

You may be experiencing pain on the inside of your ankle because of: 

  • An ankle sprain — Ankle sprains are the leading cause of inside ankle pain with 2 million acute ankle sprains happening each year in the U.S. A sprain can make the inside of your ankle feel tender, shaky or unbalanced, and painful to the touch.

  • A stress fracture — Stress fractures are also common in the ankles and usually happen from repetitive physical movements. It is common for runners to have an ankle stress fracture if they overexercise. This injury can feel similar to an ankle sprain, but you may also feel a radiating pain in your inner ankle or soreness in the area.

  • Posterior tibial tendinitis (PTT) — PTT is when the posterior tibial tendon in your foot and leg has weakened or swelled. The tendon connects the arch of your foot to the calf. When the tendon becomes injured, the arch of your foot may become hard to move or uncomfortable. This will cause inside ankle pain, tenderness, and pain in the tendon.

While these are some of the major and common causes of inside ankle pain, these are not all of the possible causes.

Causes of inside ankle pain without injury

You may feel inside ankle pain without an injury like a sprain or stress fracture. You may not be able to target when your ankle started hurting. This could be due to conditions or issues that develop over time and make your inside ankle go from feeling uncomfortable to painful. Possible causes that are not injury related are: 

  • Arthritis — Arthritis has been linked to ankle pain because ankle arthritis affects the tibiotalar joint between the shinbone and ankle bone. This can make moving your ankle very painful. You may feel pain, instability and swelling in your inside ankle. But it also can lead to deformities in the ankle.

  • Gout — Gout characteristically affects the foot and ankle. It is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects joints at the ends of limbs like wrists, hands, ankles and feet. It develops when uric acid crystals form in the joints and soft tissue, triggering inflammation. Ankle gout can feel like sudden and intense pain, sensitivity to touch, redness, stiffness, and swelling.

  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS) — This condition usually develops from a prior ankle injury like a past ankle sprain or can happen because of flat feet, arthritis or diabetes, varicose veins, ganglion cysts, swollen tendon, or bone spurs. Symptoms may include burning pain at the sole of the foot that worsens when you stand or exercise. Or you may experience numbness or tingling at the base of your foot. TTS happens because of a compressed posterior tibial nerve within the tarsal tunnel.

Physical therapy treatments that can ease inside ankle pain

Meeting with a physical therapist can help identify which of these causes you may be experiencing. It may be hard to distinguish what you may be experiencing with your multiple symptoms and determine on your own how to treat it. With a PT consultation, you can identify why you may be experiencing inside ankle pain more definitively. A PT consultation can also lead to a treatment plan that’s specific to your condition or injury. A few of the PT treatments that may be included in your plan are: 

  • Electrical stimulation — For inflammation-related conditions like gout and posterior tibial tendinitis, electrical stimulation can be an anti-inflammatory treatment. Electrical stimulation treatment uses electrical waves to prevent atrophy in the muscles and increase mobility. This form of treatment can help with repairing and healing tissue and reducing swelling by increasing blood circulation.

  • Gentle joint stretching — For injury-related conditions like an ankle sprain, a physical therapist may use gentle joint stretching for many different benefits. Gentle joint stretching can help target the pain levels in your ankle. It can also help with releasing tension in the ankle and increasing mobility over time.

  • Custom home exercise program — A physical therapist may design you a custom home exercise program after an evaluation. One of the reasons that they may give you this is to help with developing more mobility in that area while you are not in the PT clinic. Another reason may be that you experience pain during certain parts of the day like in the morning or at night when you can’t see your physical therapist. This form of treatment can be helpful with arthritis because of its constant and recurring nature.

Lattimore PT can help with inside ankle pain

Making a consultation can be stress-free and noninvasive at Lattimore PT. You can come talk to one of our highly trained professionals about the pain you are experiencing in your inside ankle and see which of our treatment options are best suited for you. A consultation can mean learning about more options and also more possible causes that may help you understand your pain better with the help of a professional.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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