Ankle Pain

Matthew J. Harrison, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon & Foot and Ankle Specialist located in Santa Barbara, CA & Solvang, CA

Your ankle is a weight-bearing joint that helps you walk, run, jump, and climb. Ankle pain is a common complaint and may develop from a number of causes. Matthew J. Harrison, MD, takes a patient-centered approach to care and uses advanced tools and techniques to diagnose and treat the cause of your ankle pain. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Santa Barbara, California, today or book an appointment online.

Ankle Pain Q & A

What is ankle pain?

Ankle pain includes any discomfort you feel in or around your ankle. Your pain may be sudden and severe or dull and chronic. In addition to the pain, you may also develop swelling and inflammation and have a hard time bearing weight on the affected ankle.

You may be able to treat your ankle pain with at-home care. However, if your pain worsens or fails to improve within a few days, contact Dr. Harrison to schedule an evaluation. 

What causes ankle pain?

Common causes of ankle pain include:

  • Ankle sprain
  • Fractures or "Broken" bones
  • Achilles tear or rupture
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Arthritis (osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Bursitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Stress fracture
  • Ankle instability
  • Tendon injuries
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome (nerve compression)
  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD)
  • Foot deformity
  • Infection


Poor structural alignment in your foot or knee may also cause ankle pain. You may also develop ankle pain if you have an abnormal gait. 

What can I expect during an ankle pain evaluation?

When you come in to see Dr. Harrison for an ankle pain evaluation, you can expect a patient-centered exam. During your evaluation, he asks detailed questions about your pain, including when it started, the location of your pain, and the activities that worsen and improve your discomfort.

He also asks about your usual routine and medical history. Dr. Harrison then evaluates your foot and ankle and runs diagnostic testing to confirm or rule out the underlying cause of your pain.

To fully assess foot and ankle health, Dr. Harrison may use the in-office pedCAT™ by CurveBeam. The imaging tool allows Dr. Harrison to take pictures of the structure of your feet and ankles while you stand.

How is ankle pain treated?

Dr. Harrison develops personalized treatment plans for ankle pain based on the underlying cause, the severity of your symptoms, your overall health, and your usual activities.

Treatment may include:

  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation
  • Immobilization
  • Activity modification
  • Physical therapy
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Cortisone injections
  • Orthotics
  • Bracing
  • Surgery as a last resort


Don’t let your ankle pain keep you from your active lifestyle. Call Dr. Harrison today or book an appointment online to schedule an evaluation.