Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain

Ankle Pain on Outside of Foot

What could be my problem?

Recurring or chronic pain on the outer side of the ankle, known as Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain

What causes Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain?

  • An injury to the nerves that pass through the ankle. The nerves may be stretched, torn, injured by a direct blow or pinched under pressure (entrapment)
  • A torn or inflamed tendon
  • Arthritis of the ankle joint
  • A fracture in one of the bones that make up the ankle joint
  • An inflammation of the joint lining (synovium)
  • The development of scar tissue in the ankle after a sprain; the scar tissue takes up space in the ankle joint thus putting pressure in the ligaments

When to see a foot doctor about Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain:

  • Ankle pain, usually on the outer side, may be so intense that you have difficulty walking or participating in sports; pain can be a constant, dull ache.
  • Difficulty walking on uneven ground or in high heels
  • A feeling of giving way (instability) in the ankle joint
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Repeated ankle sprains

If I have Chronic Lateral Ankle Pain, what are my treatment options?


  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Ankle brace
  • Steroid injection therapy
  • In the case of fracture, immobilization to allow the bone to heal


When conservative ankle paint treatment does not relieve the pain, surgery may be recommended, including:

  • Removing (excising) loose fragments
  • Cleaning (debriding) the joint or joint surface
  • Repairing or reconstructing the ligaments or transferring tendons