There are multiple reasons as to why you may be experiencing ankle pain. Whether you had a sprain, or have been suffering from pains due to running or playing sports, giving the necessary attention to your ankle can significantly minimize pain, or even eliminate it entirely.
Here, we will look at 5 ankle pain home remedies you can do yourself, so you can get back up to speed again. We also listed a few common causes of ankle pain, so you can better identify why you may be suffering from your discomfort.
Points We Will Be Covering
Common Causes Of Ankle Pain And Their Symptoms
Similar to plantar fasciitis, peroneal tendonitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain.
The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that connects your toes to your heel bone. When this band of tissue is inflamed, it can cause sharp pains along the outside of the foot. This main is most commonly experienced when you take your first few steps in the morning, or when getting up after a long period of rest.
Peroneal tendonitis is more common in runners or in people who are overweight. This form of foot injury can occur when the foot is stressed, typically caused by shock absorption or high impact when the foot hits the ground.
Other causes of peroneal Tendonitis can include; having high arches, or not wearing proper shoes that provide enough support to the ankle.
Some symptoms of peroneal tendonitis can include:
- Pain located at the back of the ankle
- Swelling of the ankle
- Pain that worsens over time
- Pain when the foot is turned or twisted
- Lack of stability while bearing body weight
- The area(ankle and heel) is warm to the touch
An ankle sprain usually happens when playing sports, running, and in some cases, walking.
Ankle sprains occur when the foot is twisted or are turned past their limit during an unexpected movement. This causes injury to the bands of muscle tissue that connect the bones of the leg to your foot, therefore causing tears in the ligaments that hold them both together.
Symptoms of sprain ankles can include:
- Pain when putting weight on the affected foot/ankle
Achilles tendinitis is more common in runners or athletes who make sudden drastic increases to the intensity of their activity. This is mainly due to the muscle fibers not being conditioned enough to handle a higher level of intensity at a single given moment.
The pain is caused by the overuse of the Achilles tendon while it is injured. This tendon is a band of muscle tissue that links the heel bone to the lower back of your leg.
Symptoms of Achilles tendonitis can include:
- Mild ache in the back of your leg or heal after an activity
- Periodic pain after running, sprinting or climbing
- Stiffness is the morning
Osteoarthritis is a more severe cause of ankle pain that occurs when the cartilage that protects the ends of your bones eventually wears down. This condition can cause bone deterioration as well as the break down of your connective tissues which hold the joint together.
This form of arthritis can occur anywhere in the body but is most common in places where there is more movement or motion supported by joints, such as your hands, and feet.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis can include:
- Bone spurs
- Loss of flexibility
- Stiffness of the foot
- Pain during movement
- The sensation of grating, popping or crackling
Stress fractures are more common than most people think. These tiny fractures along the bone are caused by repeated force and overuse of the foot from activities such as; carrying lots of weight, jumping, and running long distances. You can also get stress fractures from overusing your feet, or if you are overweight.
Applying too much stress to the foot too soon or having osteoporosis (weakening of the bones) can also cause stress fractures. Resting the foot and allowing it to recover completely is critical in preventing these small bone fractures from becoming larger over time.
Symptoms of stress fractures can include:
- Increased pain around the affected area (even during rest)
- Tenderness to the touch where the area is effected
WaysYou Can Prevent Ankle Pain And Injury
Warm Em Up!
The best way you can prevent ankle pain is to simply look after your feet before, during, and after any kind of activity that you do.
If you are performing sports, whether its high intensity or low intensity, always make sure you stretch your foot beforehand. This will help promote better blood flow to the area and will help warm up your muscles. You can increase blood flow to your ankle muscles by going for a short 3-5 minute walk before your run or jog.
Dont Cheap Out On Foot-Wear
Another way you can prevent ankle pain injury is to simply invest in proper shoes which can provide sufficient support around your foot. It still amazes me to this day how many people I see playing sports with flat shoes, or shoes that do not even fit them properly.
Not having proper footwear will cause you to lack stability and is simply a recipe for disaster. This factor alone can reduce the chances of ankle sprains, twists, fractures and peroneal tendonitis by up to 60%.
Wear Ankle Braces
Ankle braces or compression socks can be worn to help alleviate existing ankle pain or add additional support to your foot for preventing ankle pain and injury. They are encouraged to be worn during high-intensity activities such as sprinting, jumping, or when playing any kind of sports.
Condition Your Ankles
Studies have shown that those who exercised for 30 minutes a day after ankle sprains, had lowered their risk of getting injured again by up to 27%.
So…if you find yourself working at an office job, or sitting more than you are actively moving, then I would highly encourage you to walk or run for at least 15-30 minutes a day. Doing this will help condition your ankle by strengthening it, and will reduce the chances of ankle injury and pain.
Manage Your Weight
Recent studies involving 504 overweight individuals with ankle injuries have shown a significant decrease in recovery time versus those who maintained a healthy weight.
Being overweight will put more strain and stress on your ankles by default. This can not only slow down the time it takes to recover, but can put you at a higher risk of injuring yourself.
Managing your weight by mainlining a healthy diet, and exercising regularely will help you avoid common ankle injuries such as twists, sprains, fractures, as well as long term complications, such arthritis, and peroneal tendonitis.
5 Home Remedies For Ankle Pain And Swelling
And finally, here are our 5 home remedies for alleviating ankle pain and swelling:
1. Cold Compressions
Applying ice or cold compressions will help reduce swelling and pain. You can make your own cold compression wrap at home, or you can purchase a more advanced ankle compressor like this one.
Simply take some crushed ice and put it in a small-sized zip-lock bag, and wrap it with a thin towel or rag. An alternative to using a bag can be an ice pack.
Next, you will need a medical bandage for wrapping. Apply the ice pack to your ankle and wrap the bandage in a figure 8 around the top, behind the foot, and the ice pack so that it stays firmly in place. Apply medium pressure and make sure you don’t wrap too tight in order to still allow blood circulation.
Continue wrapping using the figure 8 technique going upwards, half way between the ankle and your knee.
Leave the cold compression on for anywhere between a 15 – 25 minutes every 3-4 hours.
To better help you see the figure 8 wrapping technique in action, here is a video to better demonstrate how to do this:
If you are experiencing pain when moving around, it is important to support the foot. Support will not only help reduce pain but can also prevent further injury to the ankle.
You can use a compressive bandage and wrap it around the foot. The best way to wrap the bandage is to alternate by wrapping it over and behind the ankle using the figure 8 technique.
If you want to save yourself time and want better support, you can also look into purchasing a good quality ankle brace or compression socks. These are designed specifically for ankle or foot pain or injuries.
3. Rubbing And Massage
One of the best things you can do in order to reduce pain and expedite the healing process in your ankle is to massage and rub out the area. This will force more blood flow to the ankle which allows lymph containing white blood cells to fight inflammation while helping to reconstruct broken muscle tissue.
Note that massaging or rubbing the affected area may be uncomfortable at first, so it is always a good idea to start slow and not apply too much pressure. You can massage with your thumbs by performing circular motions for 5-10 minutes at a time, for a minimum of 2-3 times a day for best results.
If you find that the pain is almost unbearable, then it is important to stop and see a doctor or healthcare professional right away.
4. Toe & Foot Stretches
There are multiple tendons and bands of muscle tissue that connect together throughout your foot and across your ankle.
Depending on the injury that is causing the pain, toe stretches may help promote blood circulation and stretch out the muscles around the affected area.
You can try leaning your toes against a wall while bending your foot inwards to stretch all five of them at once, or you can simply use your hands and stretch them one at a time by bending them towards you slowly. When doing this, make sure you take it slow and not make any sudden movements to avoid overstretching.
If you are suffering from peroneal tendonitis, you can also perform these safe foot stretches that are recommended by healthline.com.
5. Foot Baths
A warm foot bath may help reduce foot ankle pain by promoting blood circulation to your foot.
You can do this by adding one cup of Epsom salt to large bowl or container of warm water that can submerge your entire foot, to your ankle. Leave your foot in the warm water for a minimum of 20 minutes. Repeat this 2-3 times daily for best results.
These 5 home remedies for relieving ankle pain are effective for injuries such as sprains, plantar fasciitis, and achillis or peroneal tendonitis.
However, if you are experiencing more serious injuries such as fractures, breaks or arthritis, make sure you consult your doctor or physician first before applying any kind of treatment yourself.
For best results, try pairing these ankle pain home remedies together daily.