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When your ankle hurts, it might be tough to walk across the room or stand in the kitchen to cook dinner — let alone go on your early morning run.

Whether you have a sprain, fracture or arthritis, ankle pain can sideline you from the things you want (and need) to do. Good news — it’s usually treatable. Sometimes, it might just take ice, rest and time. But other times, you might need a little extra help getting back on your feet.

Cleveland Clinic’s healthcare providers are here to help. Our orthopaedics and podiatry teams have years of experience diagnosing and treating many different causes of ankle pain. We listen carefully to you, answer your questions and work with you to find the right treatment for your pain and your recovery goals.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Ankle Pain Care?

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Personalized care:

No ankle pain is the same. Treatments shouldn’t be either. That’s why we first take the time to get to know you and understand your story. Then we work with you to plan care with your needs and goals in mind.

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Minimally invasive options:

We try to avoid surgery or use minimally invasive treatments when possible. This can shorten your recovery time and help you get better as quickly as possible. 

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Specialized knowledge:

We have comprehensive experience with all conditions and injuries that cause ankle pain. We provide the care you need to recover and get back to the activities you love. Meet our team.

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Virtual visits:

Not all appointments need to be in person. Virtual visits let you meet one-on-one with your providers using a smartphone, tablet or computer. You can talk about your progress and concerns with them from the comfort of home.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Ankle Pain Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic

Ankle pain happens for many reasons. Maybe it’s an injury. Or maybe you have a chronic (ongoing) condition like arthritis or tendinitis. No matter the reason, one thing is certain, it can derail your life until you get relief.

Cleveland Clinic’s foot and ankle providers know what it takes to treat the many causes of ankle pain, like:

What to expect at your first visit

Your first appointment with your provider starts with something simple — getting to know each other. Chances are, you’re meeting each other for the first time. And your provider hasn’t heard the story of your ankle pain in your own words. So, you’ll want to be prepared to share it by talking about:

  • When you first started having pain.
  • Any other symptoms you’re having, like bruising, stiffness or swelling.
  • If the pain is getting worse. 
  • How the pain is affecting your life. 

All of this is important for your provider to hear. It helps them understand what’s been going on. And it keeps you and your needs at the center of your care plan.

While you’re here, your provider will take a look at your ankle and have you move it to see where and when it hurts. You may also get orders for other tests, including:

Meet Our Ankle Pain Team

Your Cleveland Clinic care team is built based on your needs and could include:

This team works together (and with you) to make sure your treatment plan focuses on you and your needs at all times.


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio, Florida and London.

Ankle Pain Treatment at Cleveland Clinic

Your ankle pain treatment will depend on a lot of things — how bad it is, what’s causing it and your recovery goals. Your care team will make sure the treatment they recommend matches your needs. 

Home treatment for ankle pain

Depending on what we find during testing, we may recommend treating your ankle pain at home. We often suggest the RICE method:

  • Resting your foot.
  • Icing your ankle for 15 to 20 minutes every few hours.
  • Compressing your ankle (wrapping a compression bandage around it).
  • Elevating (propping up) your ankle so it’s above your heart.

You can also try taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (like Advil® or Motrin®). It’s a good idea not to wear flip-flops, sandals and shoes that are too loose. Supportive footwear is a must.  

Treating ankle pain without surgery

If your ankle still hurts after a few days, you should see your provider for treatment.

Your provider may recommend one or more of these treatments if your ankle pain doesn’t get better at home: 

  • Immobilization: Using a cast or boot keeps weight off your ankle so it can heal.
  • Ankle braces and splints: Braces or splints stabilize your ankle and reduce pain.
  • Medication: We may prescribe medication to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy (PT): Our therapists will teach you exercises to strengthen your ankle’s support muscles.
  • Orthotic inserts: Orthotics fit into your shoes to stabilize and support your feet.
  • Steroid injections: We inject anti-inflammatory medications, like cortisone shots, into your joints to relieve pain, inflammation and swelling.
  • Shockwave therapy: This treatment uses strong soundwaves on a pressure point to reduce pain and stimulate healing.
  • Ultrasound: For some conditions, like tendonitis, ultrasound can decrease swelling and encourage healing.


If your pain continues, your provider may decide you need ankle surgery. This could include:

  • Ankle arthroscopy: This minimally invasive surgery uses small incisions (cuts) to remove bone and cartilage fragments.
  • Ankle fracture surgery: We use metal plates, screws or small metal wires to stabilize broken bones.
  • Ankle fusion: We can treat arthritis by permanently joining ankle bones with screws and metal plates.
  • Lateral ankle ligament reconstruction (Broström procedure): This minimally invasive surgery tightens weak ligaments or repairs damaged ligaments.
  • Tendon surgery: We use this procedure to treat conditions like chronic ankle tendinitis and synovitis.
  • Total ankle replacement surgery (ankle arthroplasty): Your surgeon will replace your damaged ankle joint with a man-made implant.

Your provider will go over all of the options and what you can expect from surgery and recovery.

Recovering From Ankle Pain

How fast you recover depends on what’s causing your ankle pain, how bad it is and the kind of treatment you get. Mild sprains may only take a couple weeks to heal, while broken ankles can take up to six weeks. If you have surgery, it could take weeks to months to completely recover. We’ll provide you with a specific plan to help you get better as quickly as possible. 

Taking the Next Step

If you choose to come to Cleveland Clinic for ankle pain relief, you’ll get a care team of skilled, compassionate providers with one goal — getting you back on your feet. With the right personalized treatment, ankle pain doesn’t have to keep you from living an active life. And we’re ready to help you get back to walking, running and standing, pain-free.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s ankle pain experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s ankle pain experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

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