Front of ankle pain: Who is most likely to develop it?

Feeling pain at the front of the ankle can happen to anyone. But there are certain people who are more likely to develop this type of ankle pain. Read on to learn more about who these people are and how physical therapy can treat their ankle pain

Who is more likely to develop front of ankle pain?

  • Soccer players

Front of the ankle pain is developed in large part by soccer players. Because of how the ankles are used rigorously in soccer games and conditioning, soccer players are more likely to develop pain in the front of their ankles. One reason for this pain is bone spurs. Soccer players can develop bone spurs as extra bone builds up at the front of their ankles. This buildup is a natural result of how bones heal from injuries like fractures. Over time as more injuries occur, the more likely it is that bone spurs can develop and cause immense pain. This condition is called colloquially footballer’s ankle because of how frequently soccer players develop it. 

  • Runners

Runners may also develop ankle pain because of the pressure running puts on the ankles — especially when it is done on hard surfaces. For instance, runners who run on concrete roads or trails can damage their joints because of how unforgiving concrete is. This is because of the lack of shock absorption that concrete has, resulting in all the shock going to the ankle and other joints in the leg. And if a person runs long distances regularly, the more wear and tear and pain can happen in the front of their ankle because of the sustained shock that is going into the joints.

  • Seniors

Seniors may also experience pain in the front of their ankles because of wear and tear that develops there over time. As injuries or minor mishaps happen throughout someone’s life, cartilage and other ankle joint structures tend to break down. If injuries happen chronically or repeatedly, it can lead to painful issues like arthritis or bone spurs. These issues may then cause long-term front of the ankle pain.

What are some causes of front of ankle pain?

Just as there are many different groups of people who are likely to develop front of ankle pain, there are also many different causes of front of ankle pain. Some of the most common causes include: 

  • Sports injuries

Sports injuries like ankle sprains or rolling the ankle cause ankle ligaments to stretch too far. This ligament overstretching can then trigger pain throughout the ankle. Repeated ankle injuries can also make ankle pain chronic and harder to treat. In addition, repeated injuries can trigger other issues like bone spurs. 

  • Bone spurs

Bone spurs are a buildup of bone tissue because the body is trying to repair a fracture or microfracture. Bone spurs tend to become more common as people age and can make even putting on shoes uncomfortable because of the lack of mobility and pain they can cause. Bone spurs typically need surgery to remove them, making it a more difficult condition to treat. They can also be treated with physical therapy techniques. 

  • Poor exercise form

Incorrect form when exercising can also cause front of ankle pain. Some exercises, if done incorrectly, can put too much pressure on the ankles and overwork them. Excess pressure and overwork can both trigger ankle pain. The pain from doing an exercise with poor form can be mild, but it can also become worse if you don’t correct your form.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

You may also have front of ankle pain from rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder. It causes your immune system to attack your body’s own tissue. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause discomfort in many parts of the body at the same time. The main symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in the ankle are swelling, pain and stiffness in the joint because of inflammation. Symptoms can start off very mild but then develop into life-altering pain, making walking painful or causing stiffness as you move.

Can physical therapy help treat my front of ankle pain?

Physical therapy can be very beneficial for relieving front of ankle pain. Physical therapy techniques can be targeted to specific areas of the body that are in pain, which can help ease your pain. Other techniques can also help increase strength in muscles that support the ankle and boost ankle range of motion. Additionally, your physical therapy plan can use several treatments that can target the specific cause(s) of your pain. 

For example, if you have rheumatoid arthritis, then a physical therapist may help you decrease stiffness and stretch pained areas with aquatic therapy. Or if you have repeatedly injured your ankle when playing sports, a physical therapist can help you find ways to avoid future injuries and boost your sports performance. Physical therapists can even create plans designed to help you prepare for and recover from bone spur surgery and other surgeries.

Lattimore PT is ready and willing to help address your front of ankle pain

At Lattimore PT, we offer treatments like aquatic therapy, pre- and post-surgery rehab, and many other treatment options so that you can find the best fit for your ankle pain. One of our physical therapists can help diagnose your front of ankle pain and get you started on a recovery plan so that you can get back to living and moving more freely. 

Contact our team today for more information about how we can help address your ankle pain or to schedule an initial appointment.

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