Pain that can be felt at the back of the ankle and heel during walking briskly or in an easy pace is caused by tightness of the muscle, tendinitis or ankle impingement syndrome. The pain is described as achy, sharp or stabbing and accompanied by stiffness and swelling of the joints. The pain is usually unilateral, but sometimes can affect both the ankle and heel.
Causes of pain in the back of the ankle and heel when walking
Adults and elderly people are more prone to experience pain in the back of the ankle and heel and it seldom affects children. It is important to note that the pain can be caused by several reasons which include the following:
- The pain can be caused by tendinitis. Remember that the tendons of the calf muscles called the Achilles tendon are located at the back part of the ankle and connected to the posterior side of the heel. Any injury and straining of the tendon will cause inflammation and tear at the back of the ankle and heel while walking and running.
- Soft tissue or nerve impingement of the lower leg bone and heel bone is common among ballet dancers and runners. Impingement causes swelling, pain, and numbness and tingling sensation and the condition becomes worse by running, walking and dancing.
- Osteoarthritis of the joint of the ankle is common among elderly people. Tendon injury, sprain of the ankle or constant jumping in certain sports can cause early osteoarthritis among young individuals.
- Bone spurs or an abnormal growth of the heel bone can cause pain and stiffness in the back of the ankle and heel.
- Ankle sprain is caused by twisting of the ankle which causes damage to the ligaments. There is pain, swelling and bruising around the area of the ankle and heel. It causes instability of the joint and there is difficulty in walking and while performing other activities.
Treatment and home remedies of pain in the back of the ankle and heel
- Rest the affected area. The individual should avoid walking if the pain is severe. Use crutches since it provides support and minimizes pressure on the affected leg.
- Apply an ice pack when the pain is severe. Take note that ice helps in minimizing the swelling and pain. Apply the ice pack at least four to five times on a daily basis when the pain is severe.
- Wrap a compression bandage around the affected area since it helps in limiting movement of the ankle joint as well as promote healing of the injured muscles and tendon around the ankle area.
- While resting, elevate the affected leg in order to minimize swelling.
- If the intensity of the pain is severe, provide the individual with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for a few days. Corticosteroid injection is given if the pain is severe and chronic.
- If the pain is reduced, the individual should start physiotherapy exercises such as the Achilles stretch and toe curls. These exercises can help in the strengthening the tendons and muscles in the leg and foot.
- If the person is obese, he/she must cut down some weight.