What’s causing my ankle to hurt if there’s no swelling?

Hurt Ankle No Swelling

The likely answer is that you have a high ankle sprain, which tends to make your ankle hurt but does not cause swelling

High ankle sprains are also called syndesmotic ankle injuries. They affect the ligaments between your tibia and fibula, and these are found just above your ankle joint. It’s estimated that nearly 6% of acute ankle sprains are high ankle sprains. A physical therapist can help you determine how you developed a high ankle sprain. They can offer effective treatment for your hurt ankle with no swelling as well. 

How do I know if my hurt ankle is serious?

There are a few different ways you can tell if your ankle pain is something that you should take more seriously. Here’s how you can tell:

  • It’s disrupting daily activities — If your ankle hurts but there’s no swelling, take a minute to think about how much the pain interferes with your daily life. Is it stopping you from completing your normal routine, or can you still do most of the same activities? If you can complete your normal routine with minimal pain, it may not be so serious. But, if you struggle to do things like walk, run or put weight on your ankle, it may necessitate professional care.
  • If your pain level changes — If the amount of pain you experience increases or subsides and then returns, it could be indicative of a condition that needs to be professionally managed.
  • If you have a preexisting condition — Hurt ankles with no swelling should cause a certain degree of concern for people with certain conditions like diabetes.

What causes high ankle sprains?

There are many ways you can develop a high ankle sprain. Some common ways people develop this issue that causes the ankle to hurt with no swelling are: 

  • Over-rotating the foot — The ankle and lower leg are heavily involved in rotating your foot. Rotating the foot too far outward while walking or running is a common cause of high ankle sprains. 
  • Playing sports — Sports that involve sudden changes of direction are likely to trigger a high ankle sprain; these directional changes cause athletes to twist their legs and feet. In turn, this can lead to foot over-rotation.

What shouldn’t I do if I have a hurt ankle without swelling?

  • Avoid taking pain medicine within the first two days, if possible — If you take pain medication too early on, you could risk making your condition worse. When you take pain medication that blocks pain signals to your brain, you’re more likely to use your ankle, which could exacerbate your injury.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on it — While you’re still healing, it’s important that you not place too much strain on your ankle by standing for extended amounts of time or putting your full body weight on it.

What should I do to treat a high ankle sprain?

Treating a high ankle sprain is something a physical therapist can do. These specialists are trained to address high ankle sprains and many other musculoskeletal disorders. Often, your therapist will combine several therapy techniques to help your injured ankle. Here are some therapy methods your therapist may use: 

Find help with a hurt ankle that’s not swelling at Armor PT

Does your ankle hurt? Are you experiencing little to no swelling? Our Armor Physical Therapy team can help treat the high ankle sprains that often cause such symptoms. We offer free screenings intended to determine if you have a high ankle sprain. Also, our team is adept at constructing customized therapy plans designed to reduce pain and prevent future ankle injuries. 

Is your hurt ankle keeping you stuck at home? No problem! You can still get the physical therapy you need to treat your injury thanks to the virtual therapy and at-home care services we offer. 

Contact us today for more information about how we can treat your painful ankle or to schedule an initial appointment. 

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