What's this pain in my ankle?
May 18, 2012 2:04 PM   Subscribe

Pain in my ankle. What's wrong?

I have this off and on pain in my right ankle for the past several weeks and I can't figure out what the issue is. It's not swollen or red, and I didn't have a recent fall. The pain is on the outside of my ankle and it seems to occur only after I've been sitting down for a while. I'll get up and take a step and mid-way through the step (when the heel lifts off the ground), there is this awful pain on the outside of my right ankle towards the base of the ankle. It's the kind of pain that feels like my ankle can't support my weight - like it's stiff and unable to move properly and it might give out. Standing on it is usually fine, it's just taking a step that hurts. However, once I take 5 or 6 steps the pain is gone and I can walk normally again pain-free. But then I sit back down at my desk for a while, get up, and process usually (but not always) repeats. This has been on and off for a few weeks now. On some days I've had no trouble and other days it happens all the time. When the pain is happening it hurts to twist the foot outward to the right but does not hurt when I turn it inward.

I don't think it's a shoe issue - I wear Dansko's or Clarks and I haven't recently bought a new pair. I am overweight, so perhaps that's the issue. Today I noticed that I often bend my right leg and foot underneath my left leg and sit in my chair half cross-legged with my right ankle underneath the back of my left thigh and my left leg on the ground at a proper 90 degree angle. Hope that makes sense - essentially I'd be sitting in an office chair cross-legged if I were to bend my left leg up in the same position my right leg is in.
posted by Sal and Richard to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have gout, which in some flareups manifests exactly like this.

Mine has never been in my big toe, always in my ankle or instep. At the end or beginning of flareups it hurts worse after resting the joint. It feels like it pushes my foot in one direction, preventing it from being twisted in the other direction. It often feels like it might give out, and hurts worse in certain specific parts of my stride. And being overweight can lead to gout.

I'm not a doctor, I'm not your doctor. You probably need to talk to a doctor. But when you do, ask to get your uric acid levels checked. It might be gout. Don't worry, it's pretty easily managed.
posted by penduluum at 2:17 PM on May 18, 2012

Total random guess, but the pain sounds similar to when I have peroneal tendonitis. It is aggravated when I sit that way, but generally presents only when I run too much (basically when I put too much weight on it for too long). Anyway, google it and see if it sounds right. FWIW, I went to a podiatrist about it and it wasn't too much help.
posted by smalls at 2:28 PM on May 18, 2012

sit in my chair half cross-legged with my right ankle underneath the back of my left thigh

I sit like this and also get resulting foot pain. It is likely you are stretching a tendon with the weight of your thigh with extended sitting like that. It's awful to get used to but try sitting with both feet at a proper 90 degrees; if having both on the floor is not comfortable, get a stool or box to better support your legs.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:05 PM on May 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

yeah i think you've isolated the problem. either you're cutting off the blood flow to your ankle, or stretching the tendon as DarlingBri suggests, or both.
posted by facetious at 5:44 PM on May 18, 2012

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