Shooting Ankle Pain but it's not swollen or bruised

A few days ago I crouched down to clean up some water I spilled and I just as I was resting on my ankle wrong because I felt something pop out of place slightly. It has been like two days and whenever I go up stairs, walk around, kneel down, or turn my ankle I get a shooting pain in it. It isn't swollen or bruised. I can walk on it fine, but it really hurts a majority of the time.

Apologies, I've been on leave.

It's now three weeks since you wrote, so this should have resolved with home care. If it hasn't then it's time to seek help from a local professional.

If it's not swollen or bruised then it's unlikely that any tissue is torn or broken. The most likely cause is a subluxation of one of the small ankle bones; this usually responds very quickly after being reduced.

However, if there is underlying old injury it may well be more difficult. Then an x-ray is called for.

Dr B

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Short, stabbing foot and ankle pain after several injuries

by Isabelle

Nearly 4yrs ago I fell 6wks post partum and badly sprained both ankles. Only 6wks after that I learned that the hospital had missed a maisonneuve fracture of my right fibula. Nonetheless I had already had to walk home after my fall carrying the baby and was stuck in bed for about 3wks because of the severe pain. The right side healed slowly (I never got a cast) but the left needed physio for at least a year.

Now the left ankle is giving me occasional sharp severe pain, but only when I am in bed in the evenings. I keep forgetting and crossing the right ankle over the top and when I remove it the pain is terrible. I am wondering if they also missed an injury there. All I was told was 'sprain'.

Also I forgot to mention that about a year after the initial injuries I dropped a 10 kilo weight on that foot and shortly after hurt it again under the rocker of a rocking chair. Xray didn't show anything but the top of my foot is a different shape now with a permanent lump on top. This is just at the top, right below my ankle.

I have a history of ankle sprains, dislocated knee, and a lot of extreme hip and buttock pain. Apparently I have fibromyalgia though I have been very reluctant to give up the idea that this is all due to hip/gait problems which no doctor seems to want to consider. I have really rather wide hips and excessively loose ligaments.
By the way, I realise how ridiculously accident-prone I am! Any thoughts and opinions would be gratefully received. Thank you so much.

Hello Isabelle,
Let's start with being accident prone. In light of your ankle problems this may be difficult and not for you; you be the judge. Stand at the kitchen counter on one foot with the other slightly raised, and one finger on the counter. Now start to tap on the counter with that finger, balancing on one leg, repeating with the other leg for perhaps a minute. The aim ultimately is to do it with your hand just above the counter, doing a balancing act.

Folk who do this exercise every day fall half as often. If your ankles complain bitterly, then better not do it.

It would seem that one of the joints associated with the medial cuneiform or the navicular in the foot were injured; just how is obviously impossible for me to assess. Oddly my wife, also Isabelle, has the same lump on the top of her foot and it responds well to a chiropractic adjustment using a speeder board; look for a chiropractor with a FICS sports post graduate qualification.

Do you have a family history of hip arthritis? If you lie on your back and pull the knee to your chest, towards the opposite shoulder and then drop it into lotus position, is it stiff and painful? Do you get groin pain, or is it on the side of the hip.

Chiropractors work daily with buttock pain but it can be complex; it may be radiating down the superior cluneal nerves from the lumbo thoracic junction (called Maigne's syndrome), from the SI joint, the hip, the piriformis or a sciatica; and other.

If you do have fibromyalgia, then it's in large measure caused by a high omega-6/ omega-3 ratio in the diet. Change to extra virgin olive oil and try to eat some fatty fish or freshly ground flaxseed daily. Look to eating anti inflammatory foods on a daily basis. Use the site search function in the navigation bar at Chiropractic Help to explore these terms.

This is complex, Isabelle. This is all complete speculation.

In short, start balancing exercises, see a chiropractor about your foot and ankle and think hard about your diet. I hope it contributes in some small way.

Dr B

» Short, stabbing foot and ankle pain after several injuries

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Feb 21, 2017
Loss of peripheral vision and bumping into doorframes and people
by: Isabelle

Hello Dr B,
Thank you for your reply to my conundrum!
In response, I am trying your exercise of balancing on one foot and it's fine as long as I keep my eyes open - as soon as I shut them I think I am going to fall over! In fact I realise now that all this seemed to coincide with a feeling I had of my peripheral vision and judgement becoming much worse, and more often turning around and bumping into people, as well as doorframes, mantlepieces, and other such fast-moving fixtures and fittings ;o) I just put it down to wearing glasses and having long hair but perhaps not.
I do actually eat olive oil until it's coming out of my ears, and have ground flaxseed with breakfast every day, and sometimes take fish oil in addition, as well as eating fish regularly so at least I'm getting that right.
Also I have had blood tests and a couple of examinations and been told it is not arthritis, or piriformis or sacroiliac joint disorder. I did have an x-ray and the radiographer's report noted bilateral sacroiliac joint wear/growth in keeping with a long standing injury, but that was later dismissed because I have been pregant (though actually my hips and pain in general were SO much better in pregnancy and for about a year afterwards that I don't buy that).
Anyway, I am aware that this is such a constellation of stuff that it's hard to make sense of, especially remotely, but I thank you for your attention and I will keep up the exercises and think of you as I dollop the olive oil onto my salad.

Hello Isabelle
I strongly recommend a consultation with a neurologist; that stuff with bumping into doorframes together with changes in peripheral vision and balance is significant. Let me know what comes of it.

Dr B

» Loss of peripheral vision and bumping into doorframes and people

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Inner ankle pain



» Inner pain


I have had inner ankle pain on my left ankle for the past ten years. It happened while I was playing fast pitch softball in high school. I was at home plate swinging to connect with the ball when it happened to drive off of the bat and take an immediate downwards hit to the inside of my ankle, (where the top of my cleat and ankle align). The spot immediately started to swell as I continued to keep my head in the game. That night when I took my cleat off, I noticed it was severely swollen. I put ice on it, took ibuprofen and elevated my foot on a pillow.
The next day I went to urgent care because the swelling would not subside with the ice and ibuprofen. The doctor did an exam and x ray and said the bone was chipped and it didn't seem to affect my walking abilities, so he said it will take a "long time" to heal.
So, over the past ten years I have still been having problems with it hurting to the touch and now with squatting to pick things up off of the floor. It still looks swollen but not as bad as it was when it first happened. I don't know what to do now that it's been so long since the initial injury (and a doctor telling me it would heal over time), and that I am not having trouble walking on it. Do I just need to give it more time to heal? Please let me know.

Hello Amanda,
Ten years is a long time, so you certainly don't need to give it more. In fact you should have been writing this letter nine years ago!

Obviously it's impossible for me to make a diagnosis. For a start we have no idea what bone was chipped.

It's time to see someone who specialises in feet and ankles, orthopaedic or chiropractor, have new xrays taken and a good examination.

Do the alphabet exercises which you can find using the search function at Chiropractic Help.

I hope this contributes.

Dr B

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Aug 10, 2015
by: Amanda

Hello again. I went to see my orthopedic doctor last Thursday and had an MRI done. I received a call back from the clinic this afternoon which came back as having Posterior Tibial Tendinitis in my left ankle. The physical therapist on the phone said the scan revealed a very large amount of inflammation in my tibial tendon. So, physical therapy is a must in this situation. The PT said that it should help alleviate a lot of the pain I'm still experiencing today. My suggestion to anyone experiencing pain with a similar situation as mine is to get a second opinion from an experienced orthopedic physician when it comes to a fracture; especially in the ankle or foot. It only hurts you in the long run if you wait it out like I did.

Hello Amanda,
It's good that you have a diagnosis. Always the question is whether there are also fixated or subluxated joints alongside the tendonitis. This is often the case, and you should ask the person treating you to check for that.

A calf stretch, with the knee straight, and slightly bent is important too, but start slowly. Your doctor will guide you.

Dr B

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Ankle pain and worried about hip pain from gait change.

by Josh renner
(San Diego ca. USA )

Hello there.

I was diagnosed with a protruding disk l5-S1 initially, almost at the same time as tendinitis in both Achilles from bursitis/ bone spur in heel area on both feet; that was in 2010.

My back hasn't flared up too many times, except for the last month or two. One heel/Achilles area is pretty good, but the other seems to have progressed to where I feel as though I have a sprained ankle for close to a year now.

The doctors initially said I would have to have my Achilles detached and reattached for surgery and that it would be a long recovery. They said if I could deal with the pain, surgery should be avoided.

I tried physical therapy, orthotics and motion controlled shoes; although painful it is bearable most of the time, but I believe I am getting some random hip pain occasionally from altering my gait to compensate.

Is it possible that all of these things stem from my back, or possibly my feet? Does any of this sound familiar?
Flat footed

I am a weightlifter but only started that to help my back which it did.

Hello Josh,
The pain in your feet and ankles is unrelated to your lower back problem by the sound of things. Whilst there may be old injuries there, this is of course, as you know, I'm sure, simply your body complaining about all the extra pounds your feet are having to bear.

With a BMI of 32.1 it's not sore feet; you are at serious risk of much worse, especially at your age.

My advice is to forget the word diet, but learn the meaning of 'glycemic index'. Simply by avoiding high GI foods the weight will slowly come off, the best way, and without too much pain. White rice, potatoes and high GI bread are often the fiends that do this to you.

The hip pain could indeed be a knock on effect from your gait, or from your lower back or sacroiliac joint. Or it could be that your hip is now also starting to complain about the extra pounds it is having to carry. A thorough examination of the hip is needed.

I suspect this is not something new to you; others will have told you. The Dutch have a nasty little saying: "Those who will not hear, must feel." And so it is.

Consult a dietician, get those unwanted pounds off, and you'll probably find these pain will either go away of their own accord, or at least by halved.

Good luck,

Dr B

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Sharp ankle pain when extending the foot

by Joy
(Charlotte, NC)

Sharp ankle pain when extending the foot in the absence of any recent trauma calls for ice and exercises for a few days.

I broke my ankle about 4 years ago, and I have the screws and plates. Since it's healed, I've had no problems until yesterday. I was at work, which is a physical job, but nothing happened for the pain to start. I can put my full weight on it with no problem.

If I turn it or lift it in the least, its excruciating. To push on the brakes of my car it is unbearable. The pain is an inch or two above my right ankle; on the outside. It also hurts to touch, and it's gotten progressively worse in the past 24 hours. Any ideas?

Hello Joy,
It's very speculative obviously but it sounds like you are describing the ankle mortise joint, as it's called.

Seeing that nothing obvious has recently happened, I would suggest for a few days icing it and gently exercising it. See our alphabet exercises.

You might ask someone sensible, with you lying on your back, to grasp behind the heel with one hand, and the foot with the other, and to gently distract the ankle for a minute or two. Then wriggle it about again, and distract once more.

If nothing improves after several days then I'd recommend returning to the surgeon who put in the plates and screws; sometimes it's recommended they come out, but that can be quite involved.

I hope this contributes.

Dr B

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Chronic ankle pain after broken ankle bone

by Annabel Burns

Chronic ankle pain


Two years ago I started to experience ankle instability and kept going over my ankle. I am female 55 and have to wear sketcher type trainers always, as I am in pain without them. I went to my GP and A&E initially and the ankle was not examined.

Eventually A few months ago I had an MRI scan and was told that I have broken a bone in my ankle and was put in a cast then air boot.

I bought an ankle brace so that I can walk as I am a carer to my daughter who now has a baby. I tried to wear the brace with low heeled sandals but it is too painful. I am so fed up with the lack of help and the time it is taking.

I am grateful I can walk wearing sketchers, but I am at loss as what else I can do. Usually I am good at looking at alternative medicine, but muscles and ligaments I am not so confident about.

Thank you

Hello Annabel,
There's nothing simple about this, I'm afraid.

First question, probably an odd one. No problem in your neck? Cervical stenosis can cause weak muscles in the ankle.

Secondly, do you know which bone was broken, do you know when you broke it, have you got a copy of the scan report, and could you get me a copy of the graphic showing the fracture on MRI? Using your digi camera to photograph the scan works reasonably well.

As you can read from this ANKLE JOINT PAIN CASEFILE chiropractors often will treat old fractures, but really only once they have healed.

If you have an ununited fracture, two years old, it really needs to be pinned. Have you seen an orthopaedic surgeon?

I'm not sure Chiropractic has much to contribute at this stage, but answer the above questions, and let's see where we are.

I hope this has contributed. If so, this is my latest book of chiropractic anecdotes, where you can read and enjoy stories such as yours from the coalface... available on Amazon for $2.99! Shameless, self promotion! Stones in my Clog … Chiropractic anecdotes from the polders of Holland.

Dr B

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Ankle pain; no obvious swelling or bruising.

by Jordan
(England )

I've had pain in my right ankle for several days now. The pain is only prominent when rotating my ankle to the left.

There appears to be no obvious signs of bruising or swelling. However, it doesn't appear to be easing at all, despite applying ice and compression.

Any suggestions what the problem may be?

Hello Jordan,
Have you had old injuries to the ankle; it does subtalar and ankle mortise joints can become arthritis often old sprains that were not well managed.

More likely is a subluxated talus or calcaneus, or one of the other small ankle bones; this is usually very easy to fix; there's usually one movement that hurts, as you describe.

Start by doing our ankle exercises for a week.

Dr B

» Ankle pain; no obvious swelling or bruising.

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