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Ankle pain Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Ankle pain. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you had the ankle pain?

    Why: to establish if acute or chronic.

  2. Point with one finger where it hurts

    Why: a sprained ankle causes more generalized pain, fracture causes more localized pain.

  3. Did the ankle pain start after an injury?

    Why: may indicate ankle sprain or fracture.

  4. Do you have any pain in any of the other joints?

    Why: If single joint may indicate that ankle pain is from a local condition; if many joints involved many indicate part of a generalized disease e.g. Rheumatoid arthritis.

  5. Is the pain worse at any particular time of the day?

    Why: Pain is worse first thing in morning with Rheumatoid arthritis, pain is worse after activity with Osteoarthritis.

  6. Past medical history?

    Why: Of psoriasis, chronic diarrhea, colitis, urethritis or iritis may indicate cause of ankle pain.

  7. Recent medical history?

    Why: Of hepatitis, streptococcal pharyngitis, rubella, dysentery, gonorrhea, tuberculosis or tick bite.

  8. Past history of ankle fracture?

    Why: Osteoarthritis may occur years after a badly damaged or inaccurately restored ankle fracture.

  9. Alcohol history?

    Why: may indicate increased risk of gout.

  10. Family history?

    Why: some diseases with chronic arthritis run in families including Rheumatoid arthritis , the seronegative spondyloarthropathies and inflammatory bowel disease.

  11. Medications?

    Why: diuretics can aggravate gout.

  12. How did your ankle pain start?

    Why: Your ankle pain may be the result of a specific injury or incident and it is important for your health professional to know what that incident was. It may help if you describe in as much detail as possible the precise events leading up to and including the beginning of your ankle pain. If you can remember a "popping" sound or sensation at the time the pain started then it may be due to an Achilles Tendon Rupture.

  13. Can you describe the pain?

    Why: There are many different kinds of pain, and by simply explaining exactly what you are feeling is of great importance.

  14. Where exactly do you feel the pain?

    Why: An accurate description of the location/s of you ankle pain can be vital in assisting your health professional to formulate a correct diagnosis.

  15. How long have you experienced the pain?

    Why: This can give an indication of the stage of the particular underlying condition causing your ankle pain. Additionally, some causes of ankle pain can last for a long period of time whereas others can be relatively short-lived.

  16. What did you do straight after you noticed the ankle pain?

    Why: Some things such as basic first aid can make a large difference to your level of pain, prognosis and in concert with your current symptoms they may indicate the severity of the cause of your ankle pain.

  17. Does anything make the pain better or worse?

    Why: This can give an indication of the cause of your ankle pain, plus it is a good way for you to tell your health professional exactly what things you do not want them to do to your ankle. If walking or applied heat makes the pain feel better, then this can indicate an inflammatory condition of some of the tendons involved with the ankle joint. Pain which is worse at night may be as a result of an Osteoid Osteoma or Regional Pain Syndrome. Nocturnal ankle pain which is relieved with aspirin/ibuprofen may be an Osteoid Osteoma.

  18. Can you walk on your ankle, or has it been limiting you?

    Why: The functionality of your ankle is an important factor in both diagnosing the cause of your ankle pain, as well as formulating a management plan to assist in returning you to full mobility. If you have some types of ankle disorder, or your activity is very limited by your ankle pain then you may need to be referred to another health professional for some degree of rehabilitation and/or physical therapy. If there are any things that you specifically can still do, then they may additionally be important to mention, i.e., being able to "weight bear" on your ankle but unable to stand on your toes can be a sign of Achilles Tendon Rupture.

  19. Have you ever experienced anything like this before?

    Why: Past injuries or similar episodes of ankle pain may give an indication of the likely cause of your current ankle pain. If the ankle pain or condition has been recurrent then you may require specific therapy, treatment or surgery to correct any underlying condition.

  20. Does the pain particularly come on after you have walked a certain distance, or does it come on when you are lying in bed at night?

    Why: One possible cause of chronic ankle and lower limb pain can be peripheral vascular disease. This is caused by disease of the blood vessels supplying your peripheries (e.g., legs, head) and results in inadequate delivery of oxygen and/or blood to those tissues with resultant pain. If the ankle pain occurs when you are lying down, you may find that it is partly/fully relieved by hanging your affected limb over the side of your bed as if you are about to get out of bed. This is an important sign and is of great importance to formulating your diagnosis and management.

  21. Have you ever been diagnosed with ishemic heart disease/angina, carotid artery disease, cerebrovascular accident/transient ischemic attack or peripheral vascular disease?

    Why: These are all conditions which are caused by disease of your blood vessels, and may result in some types of ankle pain.

  22. Do you regularly partake in physical exercise, such as running, jogging or in fact anything which places repeated increased stress on your ankle?

    Why: Up to 10% of all regular runners can experience ankle pain as a result of an inflammatory disorder of the Achilles Tendon (Achilles Tendonitis/Achilles Peritendonitis). Overuse can result in some specific ankle pain syndromes such as Calcaneal Apophysitis, which is more common in adolescents.

  23. Do you play any other sports?

    Why: There are some specific sports (such as football, tennis, racquetball, basketball, softball, and baseball) in which you are more likely to suffer Achilles Tendon Rupture and subsequent ankle pain.

  24. Have you or anyone in your family ever been diagnosed with sarcoidosis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis or any type of arthritis?

    Why: These are all conditions which can predispose you to ankle pain syndromes and inflammatory conditions of the Achilles tendon (such as Achilles Tendonitis) or foot bursa (Retrocalcaneal Bursitis).

  25. Have you ever felt or noticed a "knot" around or near either of your heels?

    Why: Along with ankle pain, this can be an indication of inflammatory conditions, such as Achilles Tendonitis.

  26. What kind of footwear do you wear?

    Why: Some kinds of Ankle Pain Syndromes can be contributed to be your choice of footwear.

  27. Has your running style or walking style ever been assessed?

    Why: Poor running or walking technique can be easily identified by some specific health professionals. They may be able to assist you to run/walk with a technique which will result in an improvement of your symptoms in both the short and long term.

  28. Do you regularly warm up before exercise, or apply ice after exercise?

    Why: These are simple techniques which can decrease the risk of you suffered any exercise-related ankle pain syndrome.

  29. Have you ever suffered gout or pseudogout?

    Why: These are conditions which can result in very intense foot or ankle pain. If you have suffered them in the past then they can predispose you to other inflammatory conditions such as Retrocalcaneal Bursitis.

  30. Have you noticed yourself walking with a limp?

    Why: Whilst this can be an indication of the functionality of your ankle, it can also raise some suspicions as to other causes of your ankle pain. It can also indicate disease which is not limited to the ankle.

  31. Have you ever been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis?

    Why: Whilst this is a painful condition which can be mostly felt in the heel of the foot, it may be additionally felt in the ankle.

  32. Do you or anyone in your family have diabetes? Have you ever been tested?

    Why: Diabetes is a chronic disease which can have effects on many different body systems. One the main systems to be affected is your peripheral nervous system, and this may affect your ability to feel pain in your feet. Whilst in some cases diabetes can result in a decrease in peripheral sensation, in others it can result in poorly defined yet sometimes excruciating peripheral pain syndromes which may be felt near/around the ankle. This is more common in those with poorly controlled diabetes, who have had diabetes for a long time, or those who have undiagnosed diabetes.

  33. Do you feel the pain in both ankles?

    Why: This may be an indication of a systemic disease rather than a localized disease.

  34. Do you have pain anywhere else?

    Why: Whilst you may be primarily concerned with your ankle pain, it is also important for your Health Professional to have a complete picture of any other current complaints you may have, i.e., treatment of your ankle pain may highlight any other pain you are suffering and this can sometimes be avoided.

  35. Have you ever been told that you have a "high arch" to your feet (cavus deformity), or a "flat foot" (des planus deformity)?

    Why: These are both common foot shapes which may predispose you to certain conditions such as plantar fasciitis or an increased risk of sports injuries. These conditions can result in ankle pain.

  36. Is there any particular time of day that the pain is worse?

    Why: Pain that is worse earlier in the day may be as a result of plantar fasciitis or rheumatoid arthritis, whereas pain which is worse at the end of the day may be the result of osteoarthritis and other degenerative joint conditions.

  37. Have you noticed any changes or absence of sensation in your feet/lower limbs?

    Why: A possible cause of ankle pain is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome which can be associated with some deficits of sensation. This is a syndrome which occurs as a result of pressure/entrapment of a nerve (Tibial Nerve) in your lower limb.

  38. Have you ever been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, amyloid or arthritis?

    Why: These are conditions which can predispose you to Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, and so can result in an Ankle Pain Syndrome.

  39. Is there any possibility that you may be pregnant?

    Why: Whilst it is vitally important for all women of reproductive age to consider the possibility of being pregnant before commencing any new treatment/medication, it is very important to consider it in the instance of Ankle Pain. This is because pregnancy can be a cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.

  40. Have you noticed any ankle swelling of one or both of your ankles?

    Why: Swelling can be the result of traumatic injury, or it may be the result of conditions/diseases of the ankle joint itself. Diseases of the ankle joint can have long-term consequences if not adequately or appropriately managed.

  41. Have you had any infections, fevers, or shakes/chills (rigors) recently?

    Why: Some infections can become widespread throughout the body, and may involved one or more joints/bones (septic arthritis/osteomyelitis). Joint pain may also be caused by viral arthritis, which follows a viral illness.

  42. Have you noticed any skin rashes?

    Why: In some instances of ankle pain, these can be associated with a viral arthritis.

  43. Do you have any other joints that hurt, or have you ever had arthritis?

    Why: Pain caused by arthritis can often affect more than one joint and is more likely to recur.

  44. Have you had any injuries to your ankle which resulted in any breaks or penetrations of the skin?

    Why: In septic arthritis/osteomyelitis the joint infection may have been the result of bacteria entering the joint (or the tissue around it) via cuts, grazes or any breach of the skin barrier.

  45. Have you or anyone in your family ever been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia or Hemophilia?

    Why: These are both inheritable blood conditions which can cause joint pain such as ankle pain. Sickle Cell Anemia results in episodes of peripheral joint pain made worse with cold. Hemophilia is a disorder of your blood's clotting factors which can result in hemorrhages into your joints after minor trauma. Repeated joint hemorrhages of this nature can cause joint distortion and pain syndromes.

  46. Does the pain occur after exposure to cold?

    Why: Raynaud's Phenomenon and chilblains can cause ankle pain, and occur after the affected periphery has been exposed to cold.

  47. Do you have the feeling that your ankle "gives way" when you walk?

    Why: This can be a sign of a sprained ankle and reflects some functional instability of the ankle joint.

  48. Have you noticed any bruising around the joint?

    Why: With ankle pain caused by a sprained ankle or trauma this can be an indication of a more sever injury.

  49. Stiffness in ankle joint?

    Why: Stiffness is worse after periods of rest in Osteoarthritis and worse first thing in the morning with rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory arthropathies.

  50. Swelling of the joint

    Why: may be due to ankle trauma, inflammation, infection or tumor.

  51. Redness and warmness of the joint?

    Why: May indicate gout, septic arthritis.

  52. Ankle deformity

    Why: may indicate fracture or dislocation.

  53. Tingling or numbness of the foot?

    Why: may indicate nerve damage due to ankle fracture.

  54. Raynaud's phenomenon (fingers turn white, then blue then red and painful in response to cold)

    Why: may indicate Rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

  55. Dry eyes or mouth (characteristic of Sjogren's syndrome)

    Why: may indicate Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus.

  56. Red eyes (iritis)

    Why: may indicate psoriatic arthritis, Reiter's disease and enteropathic arthritis.

  57. Mouth ulcers

    Why: may indicate Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

  58. Diarrhea

    Why: may indicate enteropathic arthritis (e.g. Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease) or Reiter's syndrome.

  59. Fever

    Why: may be associated with septic arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

  60. Rash

    Why: may indicate psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus.

  61. Urethritis symptoms

    Why: may indicate Reiter's syndrome.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Ankle pain:

The following list of conditions have 'Ankle pain' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Ankle pain or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Ankle pain:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Ankle pain' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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