Learn about ankle pain treatment.

  • Self-care and Home Treatment
  • Pain medication
  • Braces
  • Physical Therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Surgery
  • Seeking medical advice

The treatment for ankle pain and discomfort varies depending on its cause. Cold compresses or pain medication may be prescribed. If the pain is extreme, surgery may be required.

There are many reasons why people can experience ankle discomfort.

Ankle Sprains are among the most commonly trusted Sources of Musculoskeletal Injuries that can result in ankle pain.

Some other possible causes of long-term ankle pain include:

  • Unsuitable footwear
  • arthritis
  • Connective tissue disease
  • Insufficient circulation
  • nerve damage

The pain in the ankles should subside gradually. Full recovery can take several months, depending on what caused the pain. A condition may be underlying if the pain worsens or does not improve.

This article examines the treatment of ankle pain and its potential risks.

Home Treatment

Experts recommend Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) to reduce ankle pain at home:

  • Rest: Avoid weight bearing on the ankle until it heals.
  • Ice: Applying ice to your ankle for 20 minutes each 2-3 hours will help to reduce swelling.
  • Compression – Wrap compression bandages or dressings around your painful ankle.
  • Elevate: Keep your ankle elevated to reduce swelling.


Avoid applying cold compresses to the skin, as this can cause damage to the nerves or skin. Sometimes, ice placed directly on the skin can cause a burn.

Consult your doctor if you have heart or neuropathy problems.

Pain medication

It can help to reduce pain in the ankle. They will not treat the underlying causes.

Doctors often prescribe the following NSAIDs to their patients:

  • ibuprofen
  • aspirin
  • naproxen sodium

Gels containing NSAIDs can be applied directly to painful areas. These gels can penetrate the skin to reduce pain in joints and tissues.

Doctors may prescribe opioids in cases of moderate or severe Trusted source pain.

  • codeine
  • Morphing
  • Hydrocodone

These medications come in tablets, capsules, injections, and skin patches.


The Food and Drug Administration Trusted Source warns against taking NSAIDs beyond 20 weeks because they may harm the fetus. Checking labels and speaking with a doctor if you are unsure about a particular medication is essential.

NSAIDs can help treat musculoskeletal and ankle pain caused by arthritis. There are serious side effects, such as heart attacks, digestive problems, and allergic reactions.

Although opioids can be used briefly, they should only be taken under medical supervision. There is a chance of misuse and adverse effects.


A medical professional can recommend alternative options for treating ankle pain if home remedies or OTC medications do not help.

Braces can help prevent injury and recovery by restricting movement and reducing pain.


Wearing an ankle brace can lead to decreased strength and balance in the ankle. Physical therapy and rehabilitation can help to address or prevent these effects.

A person should also consider the type and size of ankle brace they are using.

A 2020 studyTrustedSource of 2,073 female high school volleyball players with lower extremity injuries found that soft-shell ankle braces increase the risk of injury. Hard-shell braces did not increase the risk of injury.

Physical Therapy

Exercise can help to reduce ankle stiffness and pain.

Exercise should be done slowly and gradually, increasing in intensity. Warming up or taking a shower can help loosen stiff ankles before exercise.

Experts advise avoiding sports with high impact and heavy lifting until the ankle is no longer in pain.

Physical activity is suitable for:

  • Maintain your fitness level.
  • Keep other muscles and joints flexible and strong.
  • Prevent a recurrence
  • Maintain moderate body weight.


Certain types of movements can worsen ankle pain or cause intense bursts. Consult a doctor or physical therapist for advice on returning to physical activity.

Steroid injections

A study conducted by Trusted Source in 2017 found that steroid injectables are effective for ankle pain up to three months after the injury.

Steroid injections can reduce inflammation and swelling and also improve pain.


Side effects of steroid injections include:

  • Sometimes a person will experience more pain around the injection site. This is called “steroid flare.” The condition is temporary but can last up to 48 hours.
  • After treatment, the injection site may bleed or bruise.
  • You may see discoloration of the skin or fat thinning.
  • There is also a chance of tendons being weakened and ruptured.
  • Rarely an injection can cause an allergic reaction.
  • In rare cases, the injection site can become infected.

If you experience any of these or other effects, it is essential to consult your doctor.

The side effects of this medication may become more severe over time.


In the case of severe pain and injury, surgery might be required. Surgical procedures that may be performed include:

  • Ankle Arthroscopy: A surgeon inserts an arthroscope in the ankle after making a few small incisions. The doctors can see the scar tissue and joints with the help of a small video camera. The doctors can then reconstruct tissues that have been torn or stretched.
  • Ankle ligament repair involves using tendons from other parts of the body to repair or rebuild torn ligaments.
  • Ankle Replacement Surgery: This surgery is for those with severe ankle arthritis and involves replacing damaged joints with ankle implants.
  • Ankle Fusion: People who have severe arthritis and cannot undergo replacement surgery may require an ankle fusion. Using plates, screws, or nails, the surgeon joins the bones beneath the ankle.