What conditions can be associated with plantar heel pain on the lateral aspect of the ankle?

Updated: Feb 10, 2020
  • Author: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD  more...
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Conditions that can be associated with pain on the lateral aspect of the ankle include the following:

  • Peroneal tendon dysfunction - The pain is on the lateral aspect of the heel over the peroneal tendons and behind the lateral malleolus; this may be associated with swelling, tenderness, and pes cavus
  • Chronic lateral ankle sprain - The pain is on the lateral aspect of the ankle; the condition is associated with a history of repeated sprains of the ankle and symptoms of instability; the patient has swelling and tenderness at the points of attachment of the anterior talofibular and calcaneofibular ligaments; a positive drawer sign signifies ligament laxity; a pes cavus and heel varus may be contributory factors
  • Sinus tarsi syndrome - This condition often follows a lateral ligament sprain of the ankle, and patients have pain and tenderness in the sinus tarsi region and lateral aspect of the hindfoot; the diagnosis is confirmed if symptoms improve with local injection of an anesthetic or a steroid; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) shows an obliteration of the fat plane, with or without interruption of the ligaments; a high index of suspicion and a solid familiarity with the complex ligamentous anatomy of the hindfoot and midfoot are necessary [22]

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