Why do I have ankle pain but no swelling?

ankle pain no swelling

Experiencing ankle pain with no swelling? While inflammation often occurs alongside ankle pain, the two are not always related. The ankle is a hinged joint with many surrounding tendons, ligaments and muscles. When dysfunction occurs in any of these parts, it can lead to pain and other symptoms. In some cases, ankle pain is not even caused by issues within the ankle. You may be experiencing referred pain from elsewhere in the foot or lower leg. By learning more about potential ankle pain causes, you can understand what to look out for. If your ankle pain does not go away, it is important to seek treatment. A physical therapist can help address your pain at the source. The exact treatments you receive will depend on the underlying cause of your pain. To understand more about ankle conditions and treatments, it can help to get an overview of common ankle pain causes.

Common causes of ankle pain with no swelling


  • Ankle sprains — Sprains are one of the most common causes of ankle pain. They occur when the ankle ligaments, which are little bands that help keep your bones connected, get stretched or torn. Ankle sprains typically cause pain, bruising and redness among other symptoms. While most ankle sprains are accompanied by visible swelling, this is not always the case. Ankle swelling after a sprain may not be immediate. If you have just sprained your ankle, you might experience pain with no swelling until some time later. Sprains can also cause mild swelling that might not be clearly visible. If you have experienced a sprain, resting your leg is important. A physical therapist can advise you on further treatment options and pain relief techniques.

  • Tendinitis — Tendons are tough and sturdy bands of tissue located throughout the body. These bands serve as bridges, connecting muscles and bones to keep your body operating smoothly. Tendinitis occurs when these bands become irritated. Tendon irritation is typically caused by excess stress, overuse and injury. People with tendinitis tend to experience sharp ankle pain and stiffness. These symptoms can appear with little to no swelling. Experiencing ankle pain with no swelling does not necessarily mean your condition is less serious. If you are experiencing acute or chronic ankle pain, using physical therapy treatments can be an essential step toward recovery.

  • Stress fractures — Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bones. These are not usually sudden injuries. Rather, stress fractures tend to develop over time due to repetitive stress. Unlike some larger bone breaks, stress fractures can heal without surgery. To ensure that your bones recover, it is important to get rest and participate in physical therapy. If you have a stress fracture near your ankle, you may experience ankle pains and aches with no swelling. Physical therapy can help alleviate your pain. By integrating physical therapy exercises and other treatments into your life, you can improve your ankle health. This can help prevent future stress fractures and other injuries.

  • Muscle strains — The area around the ankle contains many different muscles. These muscles assist in basic functions such as ankle rotation. The muscles around the ankle play a pivotal role in simple activities like walking and running. If these muscles are strained through a stretch or a tear, it can make staying on your feet a lot more difficult. A muscle strain can have a major impact on your ankle’s strength and mobility. It can also be a painful condition, though you might not notice any swelling around your ankle.

  • Arthritis — Arthritis causes inflammation in the joints. If you have arthritis in your ankle joint, you may experience symptoms such as chronic pain and tingling. Though swelling is another common arthritis symptom, it is not always noticeable around the ankle joint. The best treatment for your condition will depend on the specific type of arthritis you have. Your physical therapist can help diagnose your condition and provide effective treatment tailored to your situation.

  • Neurological causes — Pain can develop for many unexpected reasons. In many cases, dysfunction in the nervous system can lead to sensations of pain in areas that are otherwise healthy. Instead of your pain’s source being located in the ankle, it could be caused by a neurological condition. Ankle pain is often caused by peripheral neuropathies. These are conditions that affect the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is one kind of neuropathy that can affect the ankle, causing symptoms such as numbness and burning pain. Because neuropathy can occur without damage to the tissue outside the nerve, you may experience ankle pain with no swelling.

Armor Physical Therapy can help treat ankle pain with no swelling

Looking for a solution to your ankle pain with no swelling? Armor Physical Therapy is here to provide the treatment you need. Our team is committed to offering quality care tailored to your condition and wellness goals. With our help, you can work toward lasting relief from your ankle pain.

Call us or request an appointment today to learn more about ankle pain causes and treatments.

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