Why Am I Experiencing Pain Along the Outside of My Ankle?

Peroneal tendon pain is a common issue that can cause discomfort on the outer side of your ankle. It’s essential to understand why this pain occurs and how to effectively treat it. Peroneal tendon pain occurs on the outer side of the ankle due to issues with the peroneal tendons. These tendons play a crucial role in stabilising the ankle and facilitating various foot movements. There are several reasons why the outer side of your ankle may hurt:

  1. Overuse or Strain: One common cause of peroneal tendon pain is overuse or strain. Engaging in activities that involve repetitive ankle movements, such as running, jumping, or sports, can lead to irritation and inflammation of the peroneal tendons.
  2. Ankle Sprains: A history of ankle sprains can weaken the peroneal tendons, making them more susceptible to pain and injury. When the ankle rolls outward during a sprain, it can stress these tendons.
  3. Footwear and Foot Biomechanics: Improper footwear or abnormal foot biomechanics can put additional stress on the peroneal tendons. High-heeled shoes or footwear with inadequate support can contribute to lateral ankle pain.
  4. Tendon Tears or Damage: In some cases, peroneal tendons can sustain tears or damage, resulting in pain. This may be due to a sudden injury or chronic wear and tear.
  5. Tendon Subluxation: Peroneal tendons can also slip out of their normal position behind the fibula bone. When this happens, it can cause pain and instability in the ankle.

The treatment of peroneal tendon pain depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Here are some common methods for addressing lateral ankle pain:

  1. Rest and Activity Modification: If your pain is due to overuse, it’s essential to give your ankle time to rest and recover. Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain and consider modifying your exercise routine.
  2. Podiatry: A podiatrist can design a tailored exercise program to strengthen the peroneal tendons and improve ankle stability. They can also teach you techniques to prevent further injuries.
  3. Bracing or Taping: Ankle braces or taping can provide additional support to the ankle, reducing strain on the peroneal tendons and promoting healing.
  4. Orthotics: Custom or over-the-counter orthotic inserts can help correct foot biomechanical issues and provide better support, reducing the risk of recurrent pain.
  5. Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be prescribed to manage pain and inflammation.
  6. Corticosteroid Injections: In some cases, a doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain.
  7. Surgery: If conservative treatments do not yield satisfactory results, surgery may be necessary to repair or reconstruct the damaged peroneal tendons.

Preventing lateral ankle pain is crucial. Ensure you wear appropriate footwear, warm up before exercise, and maintain a balanced fitness routine. If you experience persistent ankle pain, consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your specific condition.