Diagnosis and Management of the Painful Ankle


The diagnostic process of ankle pain is similar to other diagnoses made in the doctor’s office. You will start answering some questions about the characteristics of pain. Then your doctor will perform a physical exam and tests to rule out diseases, obtain a medical suspicion, and confirm the diagnosis.

In some cases, you might not follow the same pattern of diagnosis as others because sometimes doctors prefer not to manipulate the aching ankle before getting an X-ray done. In other cases, they will go directly to the physical exam. It all depends on the location and the severity of the symptoms.

Many tests are available besides the usual X-rays, and they should be adapted to the clinical suspicion. For instance, blood tests can be performed if your doctor suspects a metabolic or autoimmune disease such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis. An ultrasound scan will be helpful when the problem is located on your tendons, and MRI tests are beneficial in detecting ligament problems. Still, they are only used in selected patients to reduce medical expenses.

In future articles, we will also go through the most critical treatment options you can try if you have ankle pain, including some medical treatments your doctor may prescribe and home treatments and remedies you can try to speed up the healing process.