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Where Did this Ankle Pain Come From?

Woman running

When there’s shooting pain from your ankle up the side or back of your leg, pain in the back of the ankle, stiffness in the joint, or swelling in the ankle, you could be suffering from ankle tendonitis. Ankle tendonitis is a stress injury to the two tendons that support the ankle and travel up the leg behind the fibula bone. People suffering from this injury usually limp and experience pain when walking or running. Similar to a sprain, ankle tendonitis can take months to heal and can recur.

What causes ankle tendonitis?

While patients may report a singular incident that caused their ankle pain, many of the injuries occur over time. Here are some common causes:

  • Poor shoes
  • Repetitive stress, such as jogging or running
  • Overuse
  • Sudden increase in exercise
  • Incorrect positioning during training
  • Injury such as a sprain, tear or contusion

“Patients with unusually high arches or flat feet may find themselves predisposed to ankle tendonitis, or peroneal tendonitis in medical terminology,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Michael Chiang. “Or if a patient has a pre-existing medical condition that deals with inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, then he or she may develop ankle tendonitis.”

What is the treatment for a tendon injury?

“We will examine the injury and possibly take an ultrasound or an X-ray to determine the extent of the injury to the tendon,” said Dr. Chiang. “From there, we can decide if it just needs rest, ice, elevation and compression bandaging, or if a surgical intervention is required.”

In addition, physical therapy may be prescribed to help strengthen the ankles. An orthopedic insert to support flat feet may be recommended, or your physician may recommend purchasing new shoes with good support.

How long will my recovery take?

Most patients recover fully from ankle tendonitis, but it may take several months to resume normal activity and exercise level. The first few weeks, your physician may advise you use a brace, crutch or other device to keep the weight from being entirely on the irritated tendon. If surgery is required, you may have to go six to eight weeks without bearing weight on that foot.

Where can I find the right help?

Board-certified physicians with an average of 15 years of experience are available 24/7 at Advance ER. In house, we have the imaging equipment, such as ultrasounds and X-rays, needed to help diagnose your ankle injury.

Advance ER: the right care in the right place at the right time.

Meet Dr. Chiang:

Michael Chiang, M.D., is the Managing Partner and Director of SPECIALIST NOWSM at Advance ER.

Dr. Chiang graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine, and completed his residency from UCLA. He is board-certified and a member of the American College of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Chiang has been practicing emergency medicine for two decades and sees patients of all ages for emergency health care.

He previously served as the Chief of Emergency Medicine at the nationally renowned The Heart Hospital at Baylor Plano.