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Pain on outside of lower leg above ankle: Here’s what it could be

The lower leg is the part of the leg that is between the knee joint and ankle joint. It works with the upper leg and foot to help you perform movements. It is made up of bones, tendons, muscles, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels. If you are experiencing pain in your lower leg above your ankle, it could be due to a number of factors. It is important to identify the source of your pain so the issue can be identified correctly. This will allow you to seek and receive the appropriate treatment to provide you with the best recovery.

Symptoms of pain on the outside of your lower leg above the ankle

You may be experiencing one or more symptoms of pain in your lower leg. It is important to communicate any pain with your health care provider or physical therapist so they can get to the underlying issue. Symptoms you may be experiencing can include:

  • Sharp and stabbing pain.
  • Achy and dull pain. 
  • Radiating pain. 
  • Tenderness. 
  • Swelling. 
  • Stiffness. 

Causes of lower leg above the ankle pain

The pain you are experiencing on the outside of your lower leg above your ankle could be caused by several issues. Common issues include:

  • Shin splints — Commonly known as shin splints, medial tibial stress syndrome can cause pain on the outside of your lower leg. Shin splints can occur due to overuse of the muscles that are attached to the tibia bone. This overuse commonly occurs from activities like running or jumping. 
  • Ankle sprain — It is possible for the pain you are experiencing in your lower leg to actually be caused by an ankle sprain. This is due to the ligaments on the outside of your ankle that run from your ankle joint up into your lower leg. 
  • Tendinitis — Tendinitis, an inflammation of the tendons, is often caused by overuse or wearing improper footwear for the activity you are participating in. It can affect the Achilles tendon or the peroneal tendon. 
  • Osteoarthritis — Osteoarthritis can affect the ankle joint. This can lead to pain on the outside of the lower leg as well. Osteoarthritis is due to the wear and tear of a joint, for example the ankle, and causes pain. 
  • Nerve impingement — If a nerve in your lower leg or ankle becomes compressed or entrapped, it can lead to radiating pain on the outside of your lower leg. 
  • Stress fracture — A stress fracture in the bones of your lower leg could be the culprit behind your pain. A stress fracture is a tiny crack in the bone caused by a repetitive impact activity. This can be due to overuse or changes in intensity of activity. 
  • Cuboid syndrome — The cuboid is a bone in the foot that can become displaced. When this bone is displaced, it can cause pain along the outside of your lower leg. This can be caused by overuse or ankle injuries. 

Can physical therapy help lower leg above the ankle pain?

The good news is physical therapy can help you with your lower leg above the ankle pain. A physical therapist may use a number of techniques and modalities in your treatment sessions. These will be chosen depending on the condition behind your pain and what your therapist thinks will benefit you the best. Physical therapy techniques that can help your lower leg above the ankle pain can include:

  • Soft tissue mobilization — Soft tissue mobilization is a manual therapy technique that involves a physical therapist applying pressure and manipulating the soft tissue of the lower leg. This can help improve circulation, reduce muscle tension and break down scar tissue. Soft tissue mobilization can be an effective treatment for ankle sprains, peroneal tendinitis and nerve impingement. 
  • Joint mobilizationJoint mobilization is a manual therapy technique where a physical therapist uses gentle movements to manipulate a joint. This physical therapy technique is intended to help improve your range of motion and can also help to reduce your pain. Joint mobilization can be a beneficial treatment for osteoarthritis. 
  • Electrical stimulationElectrical stimulation uses low-level electrical currents to help stimulate nerves and can disrupt pain signals. It can also help with muscle tension and reduce muscle spasms. Electrical stimulation can be a beneficial treatment for osteoarthritis and nerve impingement. 
  • Therapeutic exerciseTherapeutic exercises are intended to help you improve your range of motion, strength and flexibility. These exercises will be selected by their ability to best help improve your condition, your needs and the goals of your treatment sessions. Therapeutic exercises can be beneficial in helping shin splints and osteoarthritis.  

Continuum Wellness can help ease your pain in your lower leg 

Our Continuum Wellness team of expert physical therapists can help you with your pain in your lower leg. Pain and discomfort shouldn’t put a damper on your quality of life. We can help diagnose the underlying issue of your pain and design a custom treatment plan to support your recovery. The goal of our treatment is to help you make strides to improve your quality of life and help you alleviate the pain you are experiencing. 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

For more information, Contact Us Today.

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