Who To See for Ankle Pain

Blog > Ankle Pain

If you experience ankle pain that does not improve with home rest or is so severe that you cannot walk, you should seek medical attention. But what type of doctor should you see for ankle pain? Your primary care physician? A podiatrist? Maybe an orthopedist or someone who offers regenerative ankle therapy? Each can play an essential role depending upon the nature of your tissue damage. The healthcare landscape can be confusing, and several options exist for who to see for ankle pain.

Common Causes of Ankle Pain

There are several potential causes of ankle pain. The most common are arthritis and strain, sprain, or fracture due to an injury.

Sprains and Strains

The most common cause of ankle pain is a sprain or strain caused by twisting, turning, or rolling your ankle too far. A sprained ankle results from overstretched or torn ligaments (the tissues that connect the ankle bones and joints). A strain is similar to the damage done to the ankle muscles or tendons.

You may be able to resolve the pain from a sprain or strain at home by using RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication.

When To See a Doctor for Ankle Pain From a Sprain or Strain

Sprains and strains can be treated at home. However, if any of the following occur, it’s time to seek medical attention:

  • Pain is so severe you can’t bear your weight
  • Ankle appears deformed
  • Symptoms worsen or do not improve over 48 to 72 hours
  • Ankle is hot, red, or there are streaks reaching from the ankle
  • Numbing or tingling in the ankle or foot


If the twist or turn goes too far, one or more ankle bones may fracture, requiring more significant repair. You must seek immediate medical attention to have the joint properly set. Go directly to the emergency room or urgent care. Depending upon the complexity of the fracture(s), the emergency room staff may call in an orthopedist or recommend that you follow up with a podiatrist.


Both rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) can cause ankle pain. Arthritis pain may be worse in the morning or after sitting still for a long time. If you already know you have arthritis and it has spread to your ankles, an orthopedist, podiatrist, or regenerative medicine specialist may be in the best position to develop a care plan. For RA or psoriatic arthritis (PsA), a rheumatologist may be your best choice.

When To See a Doctor for Ankle Pain From Arthritis

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis and now feel the same symptoms in your ankle, you can treat it at home. However, go to your primary care physician under these circumstances:

  • You have a sudden, significant increase in joint pain or swelling.
  • You develop severe symptoms that you haven’t experienced before.
  • You have symptoms that significantly impair your ability to perform daily tasks.

Types of Doctors for Ankle Pain

The best type of doctor to see for ankle pain depends upon the nature and cause of the pain. You have four primary options.

Primary Care Physician (PCP)

Your primary care physician can diagnose and begin treatment for many causes of ankle pain. Unless you know or strongly suspect you have a broken bone (in which case, you should go directly to the emergency room or urgent care), your PCP may be your starting point for proper ankle care. If your condition needs a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon, your primary care physician will provide guidance.

Orthopedic Surgeon

An orthopedic surgeon treats joint conditions, ligament sprains, torn cartilage, tendonitis, and arthritis. The types of conditions that may require surgery include:

  • Severe or compound fractures.
  • Joint instability.
  • Cartilage damage.
  • Joint damage due to arthritis
  • Tendon disorders like an Achilles tendon rupture or severe tendinopathy.
  • Ankle deformity.
  • Impingement syndrome due to bone spurs or soft tissue abnormalities.


A podiatrist is a medical specialist who diagnoses and treats injuries, disorders, and diseases of the foot and ankle. Some podiatrists perform minor surgeries to repair ingrown toenails, neuromas (benign nerve tissue tumors), or bone spurs.

A podiatrist is the type of doctor to see for ankle pain involving:

  • Sprain or strain
  • Tendon disorder.
  • Arthritis.
  • Flat feet or high arches.
  • Ankle instability.
  • Nerve compression disorders.

Regenerative Medicine Therapy

Regenerative medicine specialists treat joint pain caused by various conditions, including injuries and arthritis. They do not set fractured bones or perform any surgeries. But once the bones have knitted, your local regenerative medicine center may be able to help if the pain continues.

Regenerative therapies can alleviate ankle pain due to:

  • Tendonitis.
  • Ligament strains and tears.
  • Cartilage damage.
  • Arthritis.
  • Chronic ankle instability.
  • Bursitis.

If you’re unsure about who to see for ankle pain and it’s not an emergency like a broken ankle, make an appointment with your primary care physician. They will discuss your condition with you and may schedule a few tests before referring you to a specialist. If surgery is recommended, be sure to explore non-surgical alternatives like regenerative therapies so you can fully evaluate your options.

Explore Ankle Pain Relief With QC Kinetix

QC Kinetix provides non-surgical, drug-free, regenerative medicine therapies to treat ankle pain. We harness your body’s innate healing mechanisms and train them on the source of your pain.

Read our regenerative medicine blog and our frequently asked questions to learn more about how our therapies work, then take a look at our patient testimonials to see how we have helped others.

The best way to learn what regenerative medicine can do for you is to schedule a free evaluation. Learn what to expect when you visit QC Kinetix. We look forward to introducing you to our concierge medical care.

Contact QC Kinetix to learn how we can help alleviate your pain, boost your joint function, and improve your range of motion.

Related Blogs

Joint & Bone Health Quickstart Program

QC Kinetix Joint & Bone Health supplements help your body to repair and renew injured joint tissues, including cartilage, ligaments, and tendons, while reducing inflammation of the bursae. Unlike steroids or pharmaceuticals, our supplements for joints work with your body to promote healing.

Supplements can boost your overall joint health as part of a general fitness program. However, they are particularly valuable for treating damaged or inflamed and painful joints. The Arthritis Foundation finds that joint health supplements show promise for relieving pain, stiffness, and other symptoms of arthritis.

QC Kinetix

Contact us now to speak with an expert

*Please Complete the Form Below and an Expert Will Contact You. All Fields Must Be Filled Out.

* Please allow 30-60 minutes of allotted time to meet with a specialist to determine if you are a candidate for our services. Exams are included and are complimentary. By providing your phone number, you agree to receive recurring automated promotional and personalized marketing text messages (e.g. cart/browse reminders) from QC Kinetix at the cell number used when signing up. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. Msg frequency varies.
Msg and data rates may apply. View Terms & Privacy.

Don’t Let The Pain Stop You From Doing The Things You Love!