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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