Foot injury spotlight: Ankle pain

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Your ankles are more than they seem – a network of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons helps support your weight while you stand, walk and run. As you move throughout the day, your feet and ankles work in tandem. However, because your lower appendages are so complex, overuse or improper footwear, as well as genetic conditions, can lead to pain, discomfort, instability or complete immobility. Read on to learn more about the causes of ankle pain and how to prevent it:

What causes ankle pain

Many things can contribute to ankle pain. Injuries, overuse and repetitive actions can all lead to discomfort or severe pain. A few of the top causes are:

Achilles tendonitis

According to the Mayo Clinic, Achilles tendonitis is caused by overuse and primarily occurs in people who frequently play sports, run or walk long distances. It may also be caused by a sudden increase in physical activity, such as beginning a new job with lots of time on your feet. If you experience persistent ankle pain, you should visit your doctor in case the tendon has ruptured or torn. Stretching is one of the best ways to prevent Achilles tendonitis – focus on stretches meant to lengthen the calf muscle. Worn out shoes may also cause pain to occur, so you should always wear footwear with cushioned insoles and arch support.


Slip and fall accidents can also lead to sudden and severe ankle pain. Twisting your ankle may lead to swelling, internal damage and immobility. Those who work in fast-paced environments such as kitchens or hospitals may have an increased risk of experiencing such accidents, especially on slippery floors. Wearing safety shoes with slip-resistant soles is one of the best ways of preventing such accidents. SFC's work shoes have slip-resistant soles that grip the microscopic roughness of the floor and push liquids away from the center of the foot, providing more shoe-to-floor contact. Ankle injuries should be treated seriously, so visit your doctor after an accident to prevent further complications.


Recurrent ankle sprains may be a result of arthritis. Every time you take a step, your ankles and heels take the brunt of the shock. One way to mitigate that is to wear cushioned insoles. SFC's insoles are designed to absorb shock and provide a comfortable cushion on which to walk. According to the Arthritis Foundation, weight management is another way to reduce the pain of ankle arthritis, as are simple ankle exercises. For example, you can sit in a chair and trace the alphabet with your toes – the movements work to strengthen the muscles in your ankles and aid in supporting your body weight.


A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that cushions the space between a bone and a tendon. According to Allina Health, if a bursa becomes irritated, it may fill with too much fluid, causing swelling and pain. This can happen if you experience a sudden injury, chronic arthritis or overuse of the ankle. Rest and icing are the most common treatments for mild bursitis, though you should visit your doctor if ankle swelling occurs. Avoiding injury, stretching regularly and maintaining a healthy diet are key ways to prevent bursitis.

You might not think about your feet and ankles much, until they cause you pain. However, maintaining your foot health is about more than preventing pain. It's also about making sure you can stay on your feet and optimize your performance at work. Diet, exercise and wearing the right shoes are the best ways to stay on your feet, especially if you have a physically demanding job.

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