What are the Most Common Ankle Symptoms?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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The most common ankle symptoms among those who have suffered injury or who deal with a chronic condition, are relatively the same. They may include pain, swelling, stiffness, instability, numbness, or a popping or cracking sound in the joint. There are a variety of things which can cause ankle symptoms, including arthritis, sprains, and fractures.

Pain caused by injury can either be sharp and acute or dull and achy. The most common type of ankle pain is caused by a sprain, which refers to the sudden stretching of tendons beyond their limit. Painful ankle symptoms can usually be managed with ice, compression, rest, and pain medications. If the pain becomes severe or lasts longer than usual, a physician should be visited to overrule the possibility of a fracture.

Stiffness is also one of the most common ankle symptoms, primarily in those who are recovering from an injury or who have arthritis. When not accompanied by pain, stiffness in the joint may simply causes the inability to move as quickly or efficiently. Oftentimes stiffness comes along with or as a result of ankle pain and swelling. In this case it should be treated with either pain medications, rest and relaxation, or compression to allow the joint to heal.


Popping and cracking generally come as a result of injury, although arthritis may also cause these ankle symptoms. In most instances, there isn’t much a patient can do to prevent this from happening. If pain is also present some medications may be helpful, although they will likely not help the noises from occurring.

Instability is a common side effect of injury, especially in the early weeks and months after the injury occurred. Chronic and severe arthritis may also cause weakness and instability in the joints. This puts a patient at a high risk of injuring the ankle further through sprains or falls. Very weak ankles may require the use of an ankle brace or cane to prevent falls. Instability caused by injury should be handled by staying off the ankle for as long as possible and by avoiding activities which make re-injuring the area more likely.

Numbness one of the least common ankle symptoms, although it is perhaps the most troubling for many patients. While a numb feeling in the legs or ankle is often nothing serious, it can also indicate conditions like vascular problems and diabetes. When combined with additional symptoms, such as swelling, it can indicate problems with blood pressure. Continued swelling, especially that which is tight enough to cause numbness in the ankle and legs, can cause permanent nerve damage. Patients should contact a physician immediately if these symptoms occur.


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Post 2

@heavanet- I think that you should not do any rigorous movements to crack and pop your ankles, because this could weaken the tendons over time.

Instead, easy exercises like stretches and rotations are good for you and will also allow you to release tension. Doing these types of movements will also increase the range of motion in your ankles, and help to build muscle strength. With these improvements, you may even notice less popping of your ankles.

Post 1

I have heard that it can be damaging to your joints to purposely make them pop. However, I have some ankle symptoms like stiffness and pain that only feel better when I pop my ankles to relieve the tension. I'm wondering if I should avoid doing this in the future.

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