7 Causes of Inner Ankle Pain Revealed!

Advanced Treatments for Inner Ankle Pain


Your ankle is an amazing example of anatomical ingenuity. It performs as a three-dimensional hinge. It twists and bends in multiple directions, often simultaneously.

In addition to being flexible, your ankle has to be both strong and stable. It bears 150% of your weight when you walk. That load goes up to 800% of your weight when you run. And your ankle must instantly adapt to whatever terrain you’re traversing.

Why does the inside of my ankle hurt?

Pain on the inside area of an ankle (called the medial ankle) can be caused by a wide spectrum of problems, ranging from a temporary annoyance to a crippling disability.  These conditions include:

  1. Inside Ankle Sprain

    A sprain is an injury to the ligaments that connect one bone to another. The sort of sprain that causes pain in the medial ankle is called an eversion sprain. It results when the outside edge of your foot rolls upward, so the sole is facing away from your other foot. This causes the ligaments on the inside of the ankle to be overstretched. (An inversion ankle sprain results when the foot rolls inward, with the sole facing your other foot.)

    The symptoms of any ankle sprain are pain, swelling, and instability. Immediate treatment includes icing, compression, and elevation (remember the acronym RICE). Serious sprains require podiatric attention.

  2. Medial Ankle Stress Fractures

    A stress fracture is a small crack (or a web of cracks) within a bone. Stress fractures that cause inner ankle pain are often located in the medial mallelos, the knob of bone on the inside of your ankle. Stress fractures are generally overuse injuries. They occur gradually when consistently repeated forces cause microscopic damage to a bone.

    Our skeletal structure is constantly replacing itself. New bone develops and replaces older bone. But sudden trauma or constant and long-term overuse can overwhelm the body’s ability to repair and replace bone. The result? Stress fractures. Stress fractures can also result from bone defects, such as osteoporosis.

    The symptoms of medial ankle stress fractures include pain that subsides during rest, swelling on the inner ankle, and visible bruising. For immediate treatment, the RICE acronym applies here as well. Rest your ankle, ice it, compress it, and elevate it until you can see your podiatrist.

    Treatment of medial ankle stress fractures begins, and sometimes ends, with resting the affected ankle. To reduce or eliminate weight-bearing, crutches or a walking boot for stress fractures may be temporarily necessary. Surgical intervention to stabilize the affected bones is sometimes required.

  3. Ankle Arthritis

    Both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can cause pain in the medial ankle. Although the symptoms are the same for each type of arthritis, the causes are different. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease.

  4. Posterior Tibial Tendinitis

    The posterior tibial tendon runs along the inside of your ankle. It attaches your calf muscle to the bottom of your foot’s arch. When overuse or sudden trauma inflames and weakens this tendon, the result can be a painful flattening of the arch. Because of the progressive nature of this sort of tendinitis, prompt treatment is required.

  5. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

    The tarsal tunnel is a dense band of fibrous tissue which sheathes and protects the tibial nerve and blood vessels. It runs roughly parallel to the posterior tibial tendon. Repetitive stress can cause constriction and pinching of the tibial nerve. The pain of this condition can be excruciating.

    Treatment includes the elements of the RICE acronym, custom orthotics, braces, splints, and steroid injections to the affected area. A surgical procedure known as tarsal tunnel release is appropriate for more severe cases.

  6. Osteochondral Lesions of the Talus

    The talus is a chunk of bone that is positioned between the end of the shinbone (tibia), and the beginning of the metatarsals, the long bones that run from the ankle down to the toes. The talus transmits weight-bearing from the leg into the foot. Much of the surface of the talus is covered with thick cartilage, which absorbs the wear and tear of friction between the tibia and the talus.

    Sudden trauma or constant repetitive forces can damage the talus’ cartilage, causing intense and long-lasting pain. Nonsurgical treatment for osteochondral lesions includes immobilization of the ankle, to give the cartilage time to heal physical therapy, and supported devices, such as braces and splints.

    Surgical remedies include removal of the loose bone and cartilage fragments within the joints. Cartilage, either transplanted from the patient’s knee or derived from a laboratory, can be grafted over the damaged area.

  7. Os Trigonum Syndrome

    The os trigonum is an anomalous (and useless) piece of bone that resides at the back of some people’s feet. (About 10% of the population have an os trigonum bone.) This small pyramid-shaped bone usually causes no problems. But for active folks, like those who punt a football, kick a soccer ball, swim using a butterfly kick, or go en pointe as a ballet dancer, the os trigonum can be a source of agonizing pain. (UFAI link)

    Fortunately, the surgical procedure which fully relieves os trigonum syndrome is simple, effective, and usually provides a quick return to full activity.

Why choose University Foot and Ankle Institute for your foot and ankle care

No matter what condition is causing your inner ankle pain, the staff of University Foot and Ankle is ready, willing, and able to relieve that pain. Our nationally recognized foot and ankle specialists offer the most advanced podiatric care and the highest success rates in the nation. We are leaders in the research and treatment of all foot and ankle conditions.

For more information or to schedule a consultation online, please call (877) 736-6001 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.

At UFAI, we take our patients’ safety seriously. Our clinics’ and surgery centers’ Covid-19 patient safety procedures exceed all CDC recommendations during this coronavirus pandemic. Masks are required in our institutes at all times.

We are conveniently located throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area. Our doctors are available at locations in or near: Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Northridge, Downtown Los Angeles, Westlake Village, Granada Hills, and Valencia, California.

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