ankle with brace

Ankle Symptoms


Healthgrades Editorial Staff

What are the signs of ankle problems?

Ankle symptoms refer to pain or discomfort which can arise from damage to your ankle, such as a common sprain or more traumatic bone fractures. Additionally, some chronic diseases, such as the many forms of arthritis, can also cause ankle symptoms.

Ankle symptoms may arise from problems with any of the structures in your ankle: the bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, and surrounding muscles. Traumatic causes of ankle symptoms include fractures of bone, tears and sprains of the ligaments, damage to the tendons, and damage to the cartilage of the joint. Injuries may be sudden, such as a twisting injury of your joint or a direct blow to your ankle, or they may develop slowly over time. The ankle is the most frequently injured joint among athletes.

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The different forms of arthritis are the most common chronic diseases to affect the ankle. Osteoarthritis results from wear and tear on the joint, while rheumatoid arthritis (chronic autoimmune disease characterized by joint inflammation) arises from a dysfunction of the body’s immune system. Rarely, tumors and infections of the ankle joint and surrounding areas may produce symptoms in your ankle.


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Sometimes, pain or injury at other sites, such as the lower leg, hip, knee, or foot, can cause pain or other symptoms you can feel in your ankle.

An ankle injury can require emergency care, and even a sprain may be accompanied by more-serious injuries to your joint. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as paralysis, loss of sensation, absent pulses in your feet, the inability to move your ankle, severe bleeding, high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), or uncontrollable pain.

If your ankle symptoms persist or cause you concern, seek prompt medical care.

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 1, 2016

© 2018 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

  1. Ankle pain. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  2. Ankle problems.
  3. Bope ET, Kellerman RD (Eds.) Conn’s Current Therapy. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2012

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