Ankle joint pain

Ankle joint pain comes from a complex organ that can cause a lot of misery.

The lower limb troubles can be very simple, but usually there is a degree of difficulty because it is a highly complicated organ. There are 7 small bones in the ankle and mid-foot.

  • talus
  • calcaneus
  • navicular
  • three cuneiforms
  • the cuboid

This page was last updated by Dr Barrie Lewis on 9th May, 2023.

They articulate with each other and with two leg bones; the tibia and the fibula, and the forefoot.

In total there are 33 joints in each foot and, what is more, the feet have to work in harmony with each other. It is complex.

Feet can hurt, believe you me.

It is no coincidence that the Japanese would choose the feet when they wanted to know all your secrets.

It really is complex. The cuboid alone, for example, articulates with six other ankle bones. So many structures to injure, and that is just on one side of the foot.

Graphic of the 26 bones of the foot and ankle all of which can cause joint pain.

Ankle Joint Pain

Ankle joint pain is usually the result of an old sprain or stubbing the toes against a cupboard.

The ankle mortise joint.

This is the joint that causes needle-sharp pain when you try to walk on a sprained ankle. The subluxated talus is probably the easiest for your chiropractor to reduce after you have injured your leg.

It is basic ankle sprain treatment.

The Talo Calcaneus aka subtalar joint

This complex known generally as the subtalar joint too may be subluxated in the ordinary inversion ankle sprain. If it's not reduced after injury, it often causes foot pain in the future.

Actually, it's really three joints, in itself.

I treat the consequences of an unreduced subtalar joint every day; people with miserable foot pain.

That subluxation changes their gait causing problems, not only in the ankle, but up the kinetic chain; in the knee, hip and the sacroiliac joint. And, yes, probably all the way to the atlas in the neck causing headaches.

Don't underestimate the damage a limp can do to the rest of your body; that could also be from a subluxated bone in the ankle, a botched knee replacement or an arthritic hip, for example. Or even an attack of gout that does not resolve.

Both diabetes and a slipped disc affecting the femoral nerve can affect the quadriceps muscle causing a profound limp.

Or a recent ankle joint sprain that makes the lower leg swell and become stiff.

Worse, research reveals that anything that affects the speed at which you can walk has a direct influence on how long you will live. Deal with that ankle joint pain.

An x-ray of the lateral ankle showing the talo calcaneus joint

The Cuboid bone and ankle sprain treatment

An MRI of the foot showing a cuboid subluxation after an ankle sprain.


Notice how the cuboid on your reading left (actually the right foot) in this CT scan has been severely subluxated. This lady hasn't been able to put her heel on the ground for 11 years. And she's only 36. Whilst any one of the tarsal bones can be injured, I find in practice that the cuboid bone is often the key to many ankle injuries.

Perhaps because it articulates with six different bones.

  • calaneus
  • talus
  • navicular
  • Medial cuneiform
  • 4th metatarsal
  • 5th metatarsal

It's often affected for example if you kick a chair or cupboard with the little or 4th toe. That drives the metatarsals forcibly up against the cuboid.

Just like any other joint if when it becomes fixated and is not reduced, it will lead inexorably to immobilisation arthritis.

Within these so-called synovial joints there is fluid sloshing about carrying vital nutrients to the hyaline cartilage that lines the bones. You can see the arthritis very clearly in the CT above in the talo-navicular joint.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive treatise on chiropractic help for ankle joint pain. Any one of them can be injured in skiing, football or skating for example; just an ordinary slip and fall on the street. Each needs to be carefully examined and evaluated to prevent the onset of foot pain and chronic arthritis in the ankle.

Often the services of other health professionals will be needed. Severe fractures can occur on and off the sports-field.

A photo of an ankle fracture happening in football.

But once the surgeon has finished his or her work, and the bones have healed, get your ankle to your chiropractor, otherwise severe immobilisation arthritis is likely. Ankle and foot PAIN with a capital P.

Chiropractic treatment

Every chiropractor has his or her favourite techniques. The one chosen is not important; having the subluxations in your foot reduced after injury is what is what matters.

Every chiropractor could write screeds of casefiles, but this one is little short of miraculous. 


X-ray of an ankle fracture showing a plate used to stabilise the joint.

There are probably very few chiropractors qualified to treat an ankle fracture; but once that cast comes off reduction of any other concomitant subluxations (such as in the subtalar joint), and rehab of the soft tissues to prevent "functional instability" is vital.

How reliable are X-rays? A missed fracture can cause avascular necrosis and a lifetime of ankle joint pain.

Buying running shoes

Whether you love to shop, or simply hate it, take your time when buying running shoes. If you purchase a shirt that ultimately doesn't suit you, it will not actually affect your health.

But BUYING RUNNING SHOES can have a direct bearing on your wellbeing; ankle joint pain lurks. So, take your time; or stay at home.

Quite apart from foot pain, you could well have a SPRAINED ANKLE to contend with.

ANKLE SPRAIN TREATMENT doesn't come cheap. Not if the subluxated cuboid, calcaneus or talus has to be reduced and the whole lower limb rehabilitated. Rather spend the time buying shoes that fit you properly or lots of pain may lie in the future.

Natural anti-inflammatory agents

Whilst not powerful like drugs, olive oil, omega 3 fatty acids and ginger all are natural anti-inflammatory agents; they are important if you are battling with ankle joint pain.

Short term you may decide to ignore the dangerous side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs and take them, but if you are thinking of the longer term, then it's not unrealistic to add olive oil benefits to your salad; or purchase a small coffee grinder and sprinkle a tablespoon of freshly-ground flax seed nutrition information onto your cereal every morning. It is virtually tasteless and inexpensive.

Fish oil softgels (1000mg) are also an excellent natural anti-inflammatory agent; better still enjoy salmon or mackerel regularly.

Make sure you are eating these sorts of foods daily if you are suffering from chronic pain; do it anyway as prevention.

Ankle joint pain and obesity are like foot and sock! Refined carbohydrates are the villain of the piece but putting certain foods into your diet is easier than removing favourites; consider vegetables high in protein.

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Do you really want to know what happens at the Chiropractic coalface?

What do Chiropractors actually do? What conditions do they treat, and how? Then walk with me through my seven years working in the polders of Holland. Another view of a different and very lovely people. It's a fun read; in the process you will also learn more about ankle joint pain.

I learned a lot about ankle joint pain in the Netherlands; their staircases are extremely dangerous with many folk taking a serious tumble. I still find it incomprehensible that their architects are so focused on saving space that they ignore safety.

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The driving force ultimately will be price. Electronic books should be far cheaper and you can download them instantly.

Give it a try. You could have Stones in my Clog on your tablet or smartphone in a jiffy. Just $2.99.

Or, $12 for the paperback in a week's time if you live in the USA or South Africa.

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