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What Are The Most Common Causes Of Ankle Pain In Seniors?

We tend to take our ankles for granted, don’t we? It’s the part of our bodies that marries the foot to the leg. But somehow, ankles get overlooked. Other than ankle bracelets, is there any piece of clothing that is specifically designed just for the ankle? Let’s give that body part it’s due already! Ankles are actually remarkable joints. They bear our weight and keep us mobile. Because we put so much strain on them so regularly, ankles can become prone to pain and discomfort.

This is especially true for older adults. For seniors, ankle pain is a common problem that can significantly impact mobility. Understanding the causes of ankle pain is crucial for effective management and prevention.


Osteoarthritis, in particular, takes the trophy as the top cause of ankle pain in older adults. A degenerative joint disease, arthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of our bones wears down over time. As a result, the bones rub against each other. This leads to pain, swelling and stiffness in the ankles. Osteoarthritis is more common in older adults. Because it only worsens with age, the condition is a significant contributor to the ankle pain suffered by seniors.

“The ligaments in the ankle joint serve as shock absorbers and bear our weight during movement,” informs Laval, Quebec’s Bauerfeind Medical, “Unconventional movement or trauma can lead to ankle arthritis. It is a sign of wear and tear that leads to long term degradation and reduction in the joint space.”

Sprains and strains.

How often have we discussed the vital importance of protecting older folks from falling? Falls are commonly the culprits for lower leg and ankle fractures. In other cases, falls lead to ankle sprains and strains. To clarify the difference, sprains occur when the ligaments that support the ankle stretch or tear. This leads to pain, swelling and instability. Strains involve the stretching or tearing of muscles or tendons around the ankle. Both sprains and strains can be painful and may require rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) for treatment.

“Foot and ankle pain can be caused by overuse injuries and sprains, as well as plantar fasciitis, caused by damage to the band of tissue that runs under the sole, can cause heel pain,” Voltaren further explains, “You can also experience foot pain if you wear tight, high-heeled or ill-fitting shoes, while sport injuries can also cause foot or ankle pain.”


Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis. It is caused by the building up of uric acid crystals in joints such as the ankle. Older adults who battle with gout generally experience sudden and severe pain, swelling, redness and warmth in the affected joints. Gout flares are often triggered by certain foods and alcoholic drinks as well as certain medications. Obesity is another leading cause. To manage gout, sufferers are instructed to eat healthy, reduce their uric acid levels and seek pain management strategies.

“To manage long-term gout and prevent future attacks, your doctor can prescribe a medicine to reduce uric acid buildup in your blood,” says HealthLink BC, “For the first few months you will probably take another medicine with it to prevent attacks until the long-term medicine has time to work.”

Is your ankle pain preventing you from climbing the stairs in your home?

If so, it may be time to install a stair lift. Stair lifts are designed to provide safe and easy access to all levels of a home. To learn all about the stair lifts offered by LifeCare Mobility Solutions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 416-267-9800 or email us at info@lifecaremobility.ca. You may also contact us by filling out the form on our Contact page!

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