Possible Causes Of Chronic Aching In Your Ankle Pain

Most ankle pain is acute. In other words, it comes on suddenly due to an injury or obvious ailment, and then it goes away within a reasonable period of time. You usually know what caused acute ankle pain — a bad step or a fall may be to blame. Chronic ankle aches are different, though. The chronic aching may develop slowly over time, and it lingers, day after day, for reasons you can't be sure of. Most chronic ankle aches do have a cause, but you may have to see a foot and ankle specialist to figure out that cause. Here's a look at some of the top possibilities.


Gout is a systemic disease that affects the way your body handles and processes urate. It accumulates in your bloodstream and then crystallizes in your joints as uric acid. Gout can affect any joint, but it usually affects the joints in the feet first. If gout is causing your chronic ankle pain, the pain will usually be worst at night. It may keep you from falling asleep. Your ankle may also appear red and slightly swollen.

Gout will just get worse if you don't take steps to treat it. Your doctor may have you take corticosteroids for a while to get your symptoms under control, and long-term, you will probably need a medication like allopurinol to control the way your body processes uric acid.


Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes your body's immune system to react to its own tissues. In some cases, it reacts to the cartilage in your joints — in your case, your ankles — which leads to chronic achiness, stiffness, and redness. 

Other symptoms of lupus include a fever that comes and goes, fatigue, and a dry mouth. Patients do not always realize these symptoms are related to their ankle soreness, but they are definitely worth mentioning to your podiatrist. If you do, in fact, have lupus, you may need to take immunosuppressant medications to calm down your immune system. Your ankle pain should subside within a few days of taking these medications.


There are a number of tendons in the ankle. If they are put under strain day after day, you may develop tendinitis, a condition in which the tendon becomes inflamed and painful. Tendinitis is common in athletes, people who work on their feet, and people with flat feet.

If your doctor finds that you do have tendinitis in your ankle, there are a number of treatments they may recommend depending on the severity:

  • Physical therapy
  • Wearing orthotics
  • Pain relievers
  • Ice therapy
  • Rest 
  • Cortisone injections

Don't ignore chronic achiness in your ankles. Most causes are treatable, so it is totally worth getting a diagnosis.