Sharp stabbing pain in top of ankle

This is one weird, but horrible, pain I’ve got.  I first had this about a year ago.  It came out of the blue and was a sharp stabbing pain, like a dagger.  The location was odd as well – right on the top of my foot where my leg meets my foot.  The pain was so strong that I wasn’t sure if it was also on the side of my foot – the lateral outside side mostly.  It would be extremely strong, enough to knock the wind out of me, and then it might pulsate a bit, but then go away completely within a minute or two.  It might come back again in a minute, or not come back for an hour or two.

I had never had pain like this and it was particularly worrisome because I had no idea if it might be something that would affect my ability to walk around.  My job won’t allow me to wear a boot or cast, or use crutches.

It was annoying, because it might disappear completely for a few hours.  Nothing in particular seemed to stimulate it.  I had no bruising or point tenderness.  Moving my ankle around didn’t seem to ever trigger it.  I did notice that, for whatever reason, it seemed to occur within a minute after going to the bathroom – but not every time.  When it was completely gone, I couldn’t imagine calling a doctor to have it evaluated.  When it was present, I was in excrutiating pain.  It was almost like a severe cramp – like when you get a charlie horse in your calf.  I kept debating whether I would call a doctor or not, and then I tried to figure out what kind of doctor to see.  It seems the ankle is mostly dealt with by podiatrists, but I figured an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the lower leg would be better at unusual pains (although maybe this isn’t that unusual to a foot specialist).

I managed to find some local orthopedic surgeons who specialize in the foot and ankle and I left the messages as my pain peaked during the weekend (of course).

Based on all of the things I read, and what I know, I figured it was most likely some sort of a nerve related pain, possibly even a referred pain from my back.  The relationship to using the bathroom made me wonder if somehow there was some irritation of a nerve near my bladder, or worsened from the slight straining that goes with using the bathroom.

The pain seemed to gradually get less frequent, and the surgeons’ offices never called me back (what’s up with that?).  Then one day it just was gone.  I figured that it most likely must have been an irritated nerve, and whatever was irritating it (swelling somewhere?) must have resolved.  Of course not having an explanation wasn’t too satisfying, and there was always the question of if and when it would come back.

Fast forward to today.  I’m doing my usual routine, going out for lunch.  After lunch I get in my car and start driving back to my office.  All of a sudden, OUCH, horrific stabbing pain in my left ankle.  It was so strong that I actually pulled my car over and got out to see if I could get it to subside.  It did lessen a bit at times, only to come back very sharp and even pulsating at times.  The weird thing is that I was able to walk on it without it getting any worse, but the pain was so strong it was hard to walk in general.

After about 10-15 minutes it was gone – completely.  I had absolutely no pain, no matter how I moved my ankle or where I pushed on it.

That was about 10 hours ago and it hasn’t come back.  I’m sure it will at some point and eventually I’ll need to get it evaluated by a specialist.  I’m wondering how they would even go about evaluating it – especially if the pain isn’t present when I see the doctor.

So – for now I’m just in a wait and see mode.  If it comes back, I’ll probably start with my primary care doctor / internist, as I’m sure he’ll know a good specialist and he can probably get me in quickly.  With my luck, it will probably happen Saturday afternoon when it’ll be tough to reach anyone to evaluate it without going to the emergency room – which is the last place I’d want to try to sort out what is going on.

79 Responses

  1. ckrummell says:

    Shoot, just found this and I have the exact issue. I had it for awhile, stopped using splenda and the pain went away, but now it’s back – must be a nerve thing. Have you found a solution?

    • Ima Cynic says:

      Unfortunately, I never did get an explanation for the pain. Fortunately, that particular pain has never come back, and that was 2.5 years ago. It was really bad. Other issues that I’ve had in the interim include my issues last year with hand numbness and more recently my diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. I do have some recent joint pains that are probably from the Crohn’s disease, but they seems very different from the stabbing pain that I had in my ankle described above. If you do happen to get an explanation for your pain, please share. Good luck getting to the bottom of it.

      • ckrummell says:

        Yikes – will do. Was thinking of cutting out caffeine and seeing if there is improvement.

        Very sorry to hear about the Crohn’s disease, I hope you find some good help for that.

        Thanks.

      • Rockin' Joe says:

        I have started having the exact same symptoms. I noticed a vein running across the bridge of my ankle. I was wondering if this could be a blood clot? I have had them in the past and am on a blood thinner. Im also diabetic and as some of you have suspected this could be a form of neuropothy when the nerves are being damaged by high blood sugar. I suggest you check your sugar numbers. If high this could explain the symptom. Cut back on all intake of carbs and sugar.

    • Kessa says:

      I have the same problem. I have tried explaining to the doctor the excruciating sharp pain that causes me to (cry and scream) to no avail. It can happen anywhere and anytime. Extremely dangerous when driving as I need to pull over and stop.
      I have had x-rays that show abosolutely nothing. I am at a loss….no osteoporosis, arthritis, spur and no breaks.

      • Chris says:

        Yikes. Well, I’m *pfretty* sure it’s related to caffeine for me. If I drink a lot of coffee I seem to get more episodes and if I reduce coffee intake, less episodes. If you are not a coffee drinker, then maybe something else in your diet? Good luck !

      • Dianna says:

        Sounds like a similar issue I have been having. The sharp pain coming out of no where and yes I scream and cry. today was the worst ever where the pain kept coming like contractions about 3 to 4 minutes for about an hour and a half. Got myself to the emergency room and of course the pain stopped and no matter how much you move the foot or touch it no pain.. Had xrays nothing.. scheduling a MRI…I have had this for about 4 months now and can go days without an episode… when I do have an episode once it is over my foot is fine..

  2. Jim says:

    Any more thoughts on this? I’m having sudden sharp pains on the inside of my ankle from no obvious cause. once a week, sometimes twice in one day. they only last a few seconds. I’m interested in the bowel movement relationship, because a year ago I had similar pains but in my calf, like sciatica, that were definitely related to pressure in my bowel before I went to the bathroom. Maybe the bowel/intestines are pressing against a nerve? I’m going to mention this to my PA later this month.

  3. Cliff Ratzlaff says:

    First time for me; right ankle, stabbing pain intermittent. It is 04:00 hours. Sleep is gone – all very new for me. Tried heat , as in running the shower hose directly over it – no relief. So I am unsure what to do. I am 88 and don’t need this kind of novel pain adventure at my age. It’s crazy. Cliff Ratzlaff

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been having sharp pains as described by all every so often as well. I noticed that when this happens, and if I’m sitting on my high stool, and I put pressure on the back behind my knee as my leg is dangling there, it makes the sharp pain worse, or come back. Definitely nerve related. Today however, I experienced a similar excruciating pain on the side back above the waist. At first I thought something was pinching me, then I rubbed my back. Nothing there. Pain also started up again on my ankle. I’m sure this has to do with nerves. And this is making me nervous.

  5. Jeffery K says:

    hi all,
    I feel your pain. This is exactly what I am dealing with now. Extreme stabbing/electric shock pain that last less than a second. It comes and go. I have been to 2 orthopedic and 1 neurologist. Have done MRI scan on my neck and lumbar. Despite MRI show some mild nerve compression around neck and lumbar doctor would not make a call that this was the cause of the stabbing pain. I feel like we need to find out the problem on our own. Hopefully , with a group of people that having the same symptom we could help the doctors to find out the exact cause.

    While waiting for doctor to find out the root cause of this mysterious stabbing/electric shock pain , I want to share with you all what I learn for the past 2 months to deal with the pain. Everyone deserve a quality sleep.

    1. Wear tight socks during sleep. Some how this help to reduce the occurrence of stabbing event significantly.
    2. Take hot shower bath before bedtime.
    3. In the case of sudden attack , nothing could be done. Pls standby naporxen sodium 500mg. takes 2 tablets every 8 hours. In my case colchicine also help but it cause diarrhea. Pls ask the doctor about the restriction about this drug.

    Some thought :
    1. This must be related to nerve as the pain is less than a seconds. If there is something physical related issue somewhere in the feet it should be present all the time or a few hour at least. Dont you think so ?
    2.We need to gather more info how to consistently make the pain repeatable ? Anyone ?

  6. Deanna M. says:

    I’ve been dealing with this same problem for 7 months. Yesterday, I received my third cortisone shot and it’s worse than it’s ever been. Podiatrsit has diagnosed this as ankle injury but no way.
    Agree that it’s nerve damage but from everything I’ve read here, there is no resolution. Am not inclined to take pain meds but use ibuprofen once a day. Don’t think it helps, either.
    If anyone ever finds a solution, please post. Thanks.

    • Chris says:

      For me, occurs when I use artificial sweeteners (including stevia). Goes away when I stop using them. Hope you find a cure soon !

    • Jim says:

      Deanna – You’re right, it’s not an ankle injury, it’s from a pinched nerve, IMO, the “pinch” is not in the ankle, it’s more likely in the spine. I had similar pains in my left calf which I definitely correlated with bowel movements! (Pressure on the spine from the bowels?) Anyway, I’ve been careful with my back and my ankle pain has not recurred for several months. (I use stevia all the time, by the way.) – Jim

  7. Hello All,

    I have been dealing with the exact same pain as has been described above. For me it is the top of my left ankle. In fact as I’m typing this my ankle feels like it is getting zapped with a tazer about ever 30 second to a minute. I have been dealing with these occurrences off and on for the past few years. Sometime it is months between episodes, but sometime I get a couple of them a month.

    For me the episodes of sharp stabbing, electrical, pain last a couple of seconds; then repeats frequently and can last for a few hours to a couple of days. The longest one lasted almost 4 days. Around 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes with accompanying peripheral neuropathy and just figured these episodes were related.

    Also, many, many years ago I had an accident where a log dropped on my left foot and according to my doctor a nerve sheath on the top of my foot had gotten ruptured; so I also thought that this could be a late side effect from that injury.

    I do use a lot of Stevia, but that is fairly constant, so I never considered it as a factor.

    Anyway, I wanted to add my story to this thread, in case somebody out there is collecting accounts to hopefully get an final diagnosis.

    I Hope You’re Having An AWESOME October!
    Sincerely,
    Bruce “ImaPaqRat” Fisher
    Remember: People don’t stop playing because they grow old; they grow old because they stop playing! So, NEVER STOP PLAYING!

  8. Amy says:

    I too have been feeling the pain lately and went in search of answers. I’ve had surgery on my L5 with a semi damaged sciatic nerve.
    What we have is peripheral neuropathy. 100% nerve related. Very common. If your doctor can’t tell you this. Get a new one.
    Hope this helps!!

  9. Q says:

    I just started having these pains for the first time about an hour ago. I had an injury to my neck and back so I think it is related. I have pinched nerves in my neck and problems with my spine.

  10. Jeffery K says:

    Hi all, looks like we got a number of people from all over the world that have exactly same symptom of left ankle pain . We should definitely keep this post active to help ourselves. Please refer to my first post dated May 29, 2017 above for my case.

    This is my second post on this issue. I am now almost fully recovered from the left ankle pain without knowing exactly why. I do suspect some possible causes but I dare not to say it is 100% accurate ! I am lucky enough to work in a company that allow me to claim most of my medical bills. In total , I consulted 16 specialist. They are 8 orthopedic , 2 neuron specialist , 1 Haematologist (specialized in blood) , 5 general doctors I have consulted with but none of the doctors able to narrow down the cause.

    I have 2 major triggers (acute electric stabbing pain in left ankle). Each last about 1 week. I am able to narrow down it happened after wall hacking/drilling activity that I had days before the triggering. Long story in short, my neck joint C4 has narrow clearance to have in contact with nerves. Because, I have a big and powerful hacker machine and I was drilling some hole in the ceiling to fix fans and projector, so the vibration was absorbed through my whole body from top to down. My palm , arm, neck , back then leg. I think at that point of time C4/C5 joint had contacted/touched/injured the outer protecting layer of the peripheral nervous system in the neck. There onward , I start having symptom of nephropathy

    How does it related to acute left ankle pain ? Again I am not 100% sure about my logic here but since none of the doctors can tell me exactly what cause my sudden acute pain in my left ankle so I think it must be complicated or at least a multiple root causes driven illness. Meaning both causes must be present to trigger acute left ankle pain. I suspect my 2nd cause is I am also having a less serious stage of gout. Gout is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation, usually in one joint, that begins suddenly. Gouty arthritis is caused by the deposition of crystals of uric acid in a joint.

    In conclusion , this is what I think is causing acute pain in my left ankle.
    1) I have mild gout symptom in my left ankle. My blood result showed I had high urine acid. At the time of attack , I was having the best time in my life. I had the most sea shell food I ever had. Never did I drink so much beer and wine in my life….
    2) Hacking/drilling caused my peripheral nervous system to injure and developed nephropathy. This had cause the gouty pain in my left ankle to amplified to great extend in term of pain level. This is also supported by the fact that when a small drop of water on my skin is felt/translated to a sharp icy cool feeling.

    Now , I still have mild pain in my left ankle but it is nothing compared to the one that I had before. It is like 0.001% vs 100% during acute attack. The mild pain in my left ankle also follow the food that I consume.

    Can everyone here who have experienced left ankle pain without knowing the cause share info bellow with me ?

    1)Do you have higher urine acid in blood ?
    2)You neck MRI show slight damaged in your nerve protecting coating.

    thanks
    Jeffery kuok

  11. Abby says:

    I keep coming back and re-reading everyone’s accounts of these sharp pains here.
    I have had a strikingly similar pain on the inside of my right ankle, right below my ankle bone. Im 33, and this pain has now continued on randomly for over a year. At its worst it has flared into awful episodes of random stabbing pulsating pains lasting hours. They hit randomly and pulsate sharp stabbing pains for around 10-30seconds, then leave, and then come back again sometimes minutes later, hours, or even days later. Other times it will be a month with nothing, and then little warning stabs as if to let me know its still there and might get worse if Im not careful.
    Ive read people likening it to being ice picked, an electrical shock/tasering, etc.
    All of those are good descriptions. I also liken it to a surprise deep tattoo, dental work with no numbing, and a surprise nerve test (like for carpal tunnel). This pain is SO intense and sudden its scary, just waiting for it gives me anxiety.

    I have seen so many doctors, have had xrays, mri, sonograms checking for blood clots etc. Spent way too much money to still know nothing.

    I do have a history of back/nerve issues. I do not know about gout and urine acid. That would be interesting to check into.

    Ive had tiny pings of pain around my toes which I think indicates nerve issues (this acts up around the same time the ankle starts going off/getting more persistent. I also have sciatica.

    One orthopedic doctor told me it was tendonitis, as the only thing abnormal seemed to be some fluid in that area.
    I was told to wear a brace and possibly a boot to keep it immobilized, & take ibprofen. The only things that have seemed to help though are mobilizing it and chiropractic appointments. Only at work I wear a brace.
    Really all Im doing is keeping this monster at bay. Its always there. Currently its increasing and Im waiting for it to become full blown while hoping I can calm it down somehow.

    Interesting about it possibly being a nerve issue higher up at the spine. Ill ask my chiropractor about that.

    Maybe Ill try giving up caffeine for a bit.
    I dont ever use artificial sweetners.

    Ill keep checking back

  12. Sabrina says:

    Sharp shooting electrical style pains above right ankle..front to the right side of shin. A few times an hour..sometimes every few minutes. Drank half a cup of decaf coffee first time in 28 years today. Hmmm.

  13. Mike says:

    This started for me yesterday morning. A couple of times an hour, at least all day. Twice driving home from work. Once towards the end of a 30 minute session on the elliptical that evening. Clearly it is a nerve issue.

    When it first started I went to the web. I had eaten scrambled eggs for breakfast, I ate nothing else that day in an attempt to immediately lower my blood sugar (although if this is it, the damage is done and may take some time to reduce). I put some Ben Gay on it when I got home from the gym

    I stayed up late because I expected problems with sleeping. I think it happened several times during the night but only recall waking up and cursing once.

    It was a couple of hours after I got up before it started today. It seems shorter and perhaps not as bad (bad being relative, being hit with an ice pick describes it perfectly, except for how completely it goes away in between spasms.

    so, could be high blood sugar. Could be a circulation problem. Could be borderline high blood pressure

    Could be weight in general (I don’t see anyone on this forum talking about weight).

    Already about forty pounds overweight (I’m pretty tall and pretty strong so, while bad, that’s actually not as bad as it might sound to smaller people). But then I was sick for about a month and hadn’t been going to the gym while eating way too much, so that could of have been the straw on the camel’s back. Should have lost the weight before this, I’ve had plenty of reason but . . .

    Be that as it may, pain gets my attention like very little else. My new lifestyle started yesterday. Been drinking lots of water and breakfast was a third of a cup of tuna, coffee was black (uck).

    I was also helping family members move several times this year and there has been a lot of lifting and toting irritating my back so that’s a possibility, too. We bought one of those adjustable reclining beds last month and it seemed to help (no more back pain in the morning at least) but now I wonder if the way it lifts your legs (lifting up behind the knees) wasn’t contributing to a circulation problem, even as it seemed to help my back. Aye caramba!

    I get plenty of health food (too much, obviously) and I take a pretty diverse range of vitamins and supplements so it’s not a nutritional issue.

    I’ve also put an app on my iPhone called Alarmed and set it to give a gentle ping every half hour as a reminder to stand up and stretch. My job is sedentary, my hobbies are sedentary.

    Keep posting and I’ll try to post back with how it’s going. Doesn’t look like the medical community is ready with anything approaching a solution of their own yet.

  14. Mike says:

    Spoke too soon! And then there is this! This is EXACTLY where my ice pick is hitting!

    And when I start massaging that little bump I can feel the soreness and sure as heck trigger the thing!

    Good luck folks, if this helps some of you!

    ———————

    From: https://www.ahni.com/Specialties/Foot+and+Ankle/Articles/Common+Disorders/Pain+in+the+Top+of+the+Foot.html

    Yet another area of pain on the top of the foot is just below the ankle joint on the outside portion of the top of the foot. In this area of the foot there is a small fleshy area. This fleshy area is a small muscle called the Extensor Digatorum Brevis. Underneath the muscle there is a small canal between two bones. This area is called the Sinus Tarsi. In this area there are three small ligaments that can become inflamed. A common cause of this pain is due to a flattening of the foot, which pinches these small ligaments. Sometimes there is actual jamming of two bones causing the pain.

    Treatment consists of stretching the calf muscles to reduce it effect of flattening the foot, oral anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections, functional orthotics and occasionally surgical exploration.

  15. Mike says:

    Yesterday there were less incidents, shorter, and the pain was almost bearable. Today is even better with very few incidents of the pain, and all very short and almost tolerable compared to a couple of days ago.. Aside from some ibuprofen to help relieve inflammation three times a day, this is what appears to be doing the trick: http://www.foot-pain-explored.com/calf-stretches.html

    For what it is worth, I think in my case this might have been caused or heavily contributed to by the way I am forced to sleep on my back without moving (CPAP) and the heavy winter blankets bent my feet away from the vertical and toward the lower end of the bed. Sleeping with only a very light blanket over my feet now.

    O——–/ instead of O——–|

  16. Phyllis Douglas says:

    Wow! I am amazed at how many have had this same problem and no one has a definite diagnosis. My right ankle gets severe stabbing pain lasting a few seconds. It hurts so bad that it takes my breath away and causes my heart to skip beats. It is happening around 10 times a day. I have a Dr appointment in a couple of days but after reading all the posts here, I feel he will not know what it is. I need relief! I work on my feet and can’t keep these pain episodes going.

  17. Peter B R says:

    Having had an excellent and copious lamb dinner with wine – and with a history of gout attacks in the main ankle joint – I woke at a quarter to four in the morning with a light throbbing in the point described above.
    This was coming at irregular intervals, but always at the moment of a heartbeat pulse, so I feared it might be a blood clot. The irregular throbbings became much more insistent and painful preventing any further sleep.
    Having read the excellent contribution from Mike and the brilliant description from AHNI, I stretched the calf muscle repeatedly, which helped in the short term, and treated this as a gout attack, using anti-inflammatories, elevating the foot and following dietary adviice. These all helped and the attack became less painful, then went away within 24 hours.
    Without reading this, I would never have thought of this as a gout attack, so am very grateful for the information provided – thank you!

  18. Katherine says:

    I am experiencing the sharp, stabbing, electric shock pain in my left top ankle as well. I had it 3 years ago a few times close together and then it went away. At that time, my thyroid was inflamed so I thought that was the cause. It started again about a couple of months ago. My thyroid is fine now as far as I know. At first it was only once a week and now it’s happening multiple times a day. I tried the calf stretches just a few days ago so I can’t say for sure if it’s helping or not. I do think the pain as decreased 50% when I get an attack. I’ve started chiropractic care as well but it’s too soon to know if it’s helping. As you all know, this is horrible and causes much anxiety when you get a twinge and then sometimes, no warning and bam, you’re down.

    I’m just wondering if anyone has found out a definite cause yet. Not sure if I should see a foot and ankle specialist? It worries me that so many of you have had tests but nothing shows up.

  19. Jeffery K says:

    I hope everyone who has this sharp electric shock pain is doing good out there. Because I know how helpless you are so I keep coming back to update what I know about this. Well …it is caused by a nerve injury and should be recovered by itself with 12 months unless the cause/activity that cause nerve injury is not stopped. Other wise it should !!! In my case. I suddently got the symptom after I do wall hacking which injured both my neck and ankle.

  20. Jeffery K says:

    hi Mike, hos is you condition now ? it has been about 6 months now .. has the pain go away ?

  21. Gail says:

    I’m joining with the same symptoms to follow how people are coping. This just started with me two days ago. The pain is on top of my right foot where my leg meets my ankle – takes my breath away and brings me to tears. It feels like an electric shock that lasts a few seconds. It woke me up last night. I eat healthy do not smoke and only occasionally have a glass of wine. I don’t drink coffee but do drink ice tea almost every day. I have had spinal fusion when I was 28 years old, I’m now 65 and have been free of back pain all these years. I’m believing it is something with the nerves and am making a doctors appointment tomorrow – will keep you all posted. This is crazy that with all these same symptoms they can’t figure out what is causing the pain.

  22. Katherine says:

    Hi Gail,
    I have exactly the same thing you have. I actually went to an ankle/orthopedic specialist today. X-rays are all normal so he’s ordering an MRI. I fear they won’t find the cause either. I mentioned to him that I found this website and other people have the same problem. So I guess I wait and see what happens with MRI. Keep us posted what your doctor says.

  23. Katherine says:

    I haven’t had an accident or injury or repetitive movement to cause this to happen. I’m currently seeing a chiropractor because my back was sore and I mentioned the ankle issue so he’s working on that too…it might be helping some. If anything, the intensity of the pain is slightly less. Went to ankle/orthopedic doctor today as well. X-rays are all normal. Getting an MRI next.

  24. Mike says:

    I posted about six months back. The calf stretching exercises cleared it up for me in just a few days. After a couple of weeks of no pain I stopped doing them. Then got a few twinges (just twinges, not the full blown thing) so I am back to doing the stretches and life is good.

  25. Katherine M Owsianiak says:

    That’s great Mike! I tried the stretches…although maybe the intensity of the pain was better, but they are still occurring. Still hoping to find the answer to what the cause is for me.

  26. Abby says:

    Hi to all. Ive been checking back as usual. Im glad this thread is still so active. Ive just spent the night in more tears as Ive escalated back up to severe attacks of this pain. Had me in yelping and on the floor pressing my ankle to try and subside the pain (doesnt work, but thats about all there is to do).

    A friend looked up some information and sent me some links.
    Look at this and tell me what you all think?
    The section under symptoms in this link describes me pretty well. Any one else?

    Although I seriously fear nerve conduction studies and the pain, I think I will make an appointment and ask to be checked for Small Fiber Sensory Neuropathy.

    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/peripheral_nerve/conditions/small_fiber_sensory_neuropathy.html

  27. Abby says:

    Several people have mentioned peripheral neuropathy above, I had never looked deep enough to read about the specific kinds and their underlying disorders. Wish i had of!

  28. Amy says:

    Yes peripheral neuropathy is what is causing this pain. I said it way back but I guess it got lost in the shuffle. There are many causes to peripheral neuropathy which is why our experiences and causes are different. I had surgery on my L5 nerve was being squished by bone and cartilage and caused nerve damage down my leg.
    It’s no fun. It comes and goes and it’s just as we have all described it….
    Excruciating!
    Best wishes to all!!

  29. Katherine says:

    I have no cause or reason for the pain. Other than living for 55 years. I’m not a diabetic. Is there anything that can be done to alleviate the pain? I’ve tried the stretches but that hasn’t helped.

  30. Steve says:

    Sorry English is not my native language, please bear with me.

    I first experienced the same issue two months ago, I felt the stabbing pain on my left top ankle, it lasted for a week or so. Whenever the pain attacked, I can still walk with bearable pain. I doubted if I injured myself during a calf raising exercise.

    About a week ago, when I woke up in the morning, the pain killed me, I couldnt move my left leg at all because as soon as it moved just a little bit, it felt so painful that I needed to scream. It was not swelling, but when I touch it lightly it is so painful as well. And I thought it is a gout. After 15-30 mins on bed, the pain went away, and I could walk, but there were several severe pain attack from time to time over the past few days which seems fine now. Doctor said it shouldn’t be a gout, and asked me to do an X-ray and Ultrasound, but upon reading all the comments above, I am not optimistic to find the cause. But I will keep you posted!

  31. Natalie says:

    I suffer from the same pain described above. I hadn’t expereinced the ice-pick, electric shock pain in a year or so and this time it’s in the opposite ankle. I have connected my pain to wearing heels, which from reading the above posts I’m guessing when I wear certain heels it could be causeing nerves to be pinched. I don’t have the pain until after I’ve been wearing and walking in the heels for several hours but the shock feeling will hit me up to 24-48 hours after I’m no longer on my feet. I was reminded of the pain last night and for the first time it woke me up several times in the middle of the night. I’ll be wearing flats from now on.. with maybe the occasional heel for only a couple hours. Sorry you all are suffering from this pain, I know it’s awful!

  32. Cecille says:

    OMG! I just started experiencing this pain about 3 weeks ago. I was thinking it was because i was trying to start running and wearing bad shoes though I walk a lot and my running is really more of a light jog. In any event, it started the day after i first ran and occurred maybe once or twice that day, then a few times the next days. Now, it seems more frequent and i cant seem to figure out why. The pain is strong enough that you cant just ignore and i do worry if i am driving because mine is in my right ankle. One thing I’ve noticed is that the pain seems to be less or subside if my foot is in a flexed position (rather than pointed). This sucks but glad to know I”m not the only one. Seeing a podiatrist Monday but maybe i will also go to my dermatologist because i have psorasis too and this could be arthritic psoriasis. IDK

  33. Esteban Saavedra says:

    I’ve been having this pain on and off for the last 3 months. It usually lasts no more than 3 seconds and it just goes away. I usually try to put all my my weight on the ball of my foot and it slowly goes away. I’m 30 years old and the pain is on my right ankle.

  34. Steve says:

    After the ultrasound and x=ray, the doctor said there is a bony prominence of the anterior talus, where my tibialis anterior tendon appears to glide over it, which may account for the symptoms. I am still in doubt, but what can I do 🙁

  35. Katherine says:

    I recently had an MRI done and it was all normal as I expected. Orthopedic ankle specialist referred me to primary care doctor, but said continue with chiropractic care if its helping. The “spasms” have been better this past week…only feel twinges here and there. The issue is finding what is out of line further up in my back/neck that is causing this pain.

    Just curious, the only time I DO NOT get an attack is during exercise. I use an elliptical machine for cardio or speed walk. Anyone else notice this?

  36. AmyW says:

    I’m so relived to read these accounts. No one understands when I describe it. It’s awful, acute, seering pain in the inner aspect of my right ankle. It seems to come and go randomly.

  37. Dan Andersen says:

    Hi,

    I have the same pain. For me left ankle, just above actually, on the little fleshy bit on outside on ankle but inside the ankle bone if that makes sense. For me it’s an extremely sharp stabbing pain. Like someone stabbing me with an ice pick that as been heated to 500 degrees. I’ve read other threads where people describe it as if someone has a voodoo doll of them and is sticking the doll in the ankle with a needle.

    Thank goodness, for me, it usually last less than a second. I don’t think I could handle it if it were to last any longer with the same intensity. I’ve been know to cuss really loud when the pain hits. People probably have thought I had Tourettes.

    Usually the pains come in waves. Last night while driving, the first one hit. Then I had them off and on all night, even while I slept. Now the next morning the are becoming less frequent. This is typical for me. A 24 hour period and then I may not get it again until months later. I’m 52, not overweight, don’t drink anything with artificial sweeteners. I play soccer once a week. I do, however, drink like 3 cokes a day.

    One thing that seems weird, each time I get them now, (this has been going on for a few years) the first few stabs feel as if they always have. Sharp, intense and short. But recently and certainly last night, though those same pains exist, I also get pains that throb but not as sharp. Hurting less, but throbbing for up to 30 seconds. These are intermittent along with the more usually sharp short pains.

    I have no answers to offer just wanted to say how it affects me. I will try the stretches.

  38. Adam says:

    I’ve been experiencing this pain now for about 2-3 months. Nothing that I can tell exacerbates the pain and nothing alleviates it. Im a physician and am having a hard time narrowing down the possibilities. Pain is so significant yet is short I duration. Hard to pinpoint where’re the pain starts. If I come up with anything, I’ll let you guys know.

  39. Peter Rust says:

    Have you treated it as a gout attack? It worked for me.

  40. Carey says:

    Thank you! FYI, for the record if any medical person is keeping track: This started for me for the first time last night in my left ankle. As soon as I put on compression socks I got releif. I am 52, female, eat well, and exercise daily. I wore flat shoes all day today which is rare. Calfs might be tight as well. I ruptured the Achilles on this leg almost 20 years ago. I am going to start more regular calf exercises as another post lower down suggests.

  41. Erwin says:

    Hey guys, I had this kind of sharp pain last night just below the calf and above the ankle in my left leg. It lasted only for like 5 seconds and pain was too much that I screamed. I felt like there was little snake running in my vein. Just relieve that I am not alone but what causes this is a mystery to me.

  42. Dyan says:

    I’m glad I found this. I have been getting these pains on my left ankle for about 3 weeks now. The first day it was so bad I got home and went straight to bed in tears. The next day my ankle was weak and felt sore like I had injured it. I ended up actually injuring it really bad while working in the yard. Now I’m afraid to go to the doctor about it because I don’t think they will believe me that it’s NOT from the sprain. I think the pain was why I sprained it in the first place. I am about 30lb overweight, and I do drink lots of Pepsi plus 2 cups of coffee a day. I will try cutting back on the caffeine. Hopefully that helps as this pain is excruciating!

  43. Amanda says:

    So many people having the same problem as me! I am so glad to have found this thread! I am 12 weeks pregnant and I have a herniated disc which flared up 4 days ago, and then!.. My left ankle felt like it was being stabbed by an ice pick! It lasts for a couple of minutes but the pain never really goes away. It’s lingers when I’m sitting or laying down, seems better when I’m walking. It’s especially worse at night and I haven’t had any good sleep since it’s started. Last night was the worst! I slept for a total of 1 1/2 hours and was in pain the entire night. I kept getting up to walk around and lay on the floor to do stretches which helped a little.

    This morning I cried because the pain was excruciating. I finally went and saw a chiropractor for the first time and he could tell it was my disc causing my ankle pain because of how fidgety I was sitting down. I just couldn’t get comfortable in my own skin! 🙁 They did some therapy on my back to help reduce the muscle inflammation surrounding my spine as well as cracking my back and legs. And WOW the back pain AND ankle pain was sooo much better! BUT it started to linger again later today, although I haven’t had the sharp stabbing pains. I’m hoping that I and all of you can get some sleep tonight! I will definitely be going back to the chiropractor. I will pray for you all, I know how terrible this pain is. Please keep posting!!

  44. Katherine says:

    You poor thing! That is terrible being pregnant. I will pray that the chiropractor can keep the pain level at a minimum. My pain has been so much better since I started chiropractic care too. It took s couple months of visits. Now I only get twinges here and there. Nothing anywhere close to the excruciating pain I used to feel. Good luck to you!

  45. Amanda says:

    Katherine, that is so good to hear and it gives me hope!! I will certainly keep going now. Thank you for your prayers, and I will pray for you too!! Good luck to you as well and please update if anything changes!!

  46. Dawn says:

    I just started experiencing this pain in my left ankle over the past week or so. I was in a car accident 9/2017 and have cervical nerve damage on the right side as well as an impingement in my right shoulder. I am having sugery to correct the issue in my shoulder and have cervical injections for the neck. It seems to me if this were the cause it should have began some time ago. Why now?

  47. Adam says:

    Long story short. Artificial sweetners were the cause. Nothing chnged other than decreasing the amount diet drinks I am consuming and pain was gone. It likely causes some nerve swelling, albeit minimal, but enoigh to cause excruiating pain for several seconds. Hopefukky, you guys find relief like I and sevral others have found.

  48. Chris says:

    My exact experience (including sucralose and strangely stevia). When eliminated, the pain goes away.

  49. Val says:

    Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Please go to http://www.healthline.com and search for symptoms of this. I think it will be helpful.

    Good luck to you all.

  50. Mary says:

    Omg we do need to figure this thing out!!!! I get the pain on my left foot just below my ankle, won’t get t for months and then it starts again….. this is the first time it’s been going on day 2, it started yesterday just little pulsating pain,then last night full blown electrical shock dibilitating pain that last for about 5 seconds at a time every 10 to 15 minutes all night into today now and I’m at work….. I want to scream and cry! Can you email me back so we can discuss this [email protected] thanks ?

  51. Tina Fallon Davis says:

    OMG I am going through this now, Its been happening for the last month and a half. They gave me a boot to wear that seamed to help but if I don’t use the boot it seems to hurt more. Its definitely has to be nerve issue I think. It wakes me up in the middle of the night sometimes. I had xrays and MRI’s but they found nothing. This is not normal we need to know why we are all having this pain.

  52. Tom says:

    Iv’e been getting the random sharp pains in the outside of my right ankle. It comes on totally unexpected and disappears in just a second or two. It usually happens when I’m walking. But NOT when I take my first steps from sitting. The sharp pain comes and my ankle kind of buckles or gives out. Once I recover my balance, the pain is gone. Sometimes its gone for several days. Other times it happens up to 10 times in one day. Even multiple times in a short walk inside my office. Very random, but very painful. I can’t figure out any common theme to the occurrences. Can be any time of day. Not related to meals. And I can’t reproduce it by moving my ankle or putting pressure on it. Once the pain came while I had my right foot lifted and all my weight was on my left leg. Any explanation for the randomness?

  53. JAMES BROWN says:

    You have described my exact same problem, have you figured it out yet?

  54. Kristin says:

    This definitely feels like nerve pain, I’ve had nerve pain previously, but not in this spot before. I used to regularly get stabbing pain in my toes for no apparent reason out of the blue, but it seemed to clear up when I went low carb high fat. Then I went back to carbs, regained all my weight and the stabbing pains in my toes started to come back, and then approx. 16 months ago before I was in a shopping centre after returning from a long holiday that included lots of time being stuck in a car and being on my feet for extended periods of time,and I felt like a sword was put through the bottom of my left foot and it was really hard not to cry out. It then continued to repeat for the rest of the day and night regardless of whether I was standing up or laying down, and despite no obvious causes, it was painful to walk on for weeks afterwards. At the time I did research and saw a lot of mention about nerve pain possibly relating to diabetes, I’ve never been diagnosed with diabetes but at that stage I hadn’t been tested either and I know it could have been a possibility as I’m high risk. Around that time I commenced a strict ketogenic diet and that pain didn’t repeat once the tenderness healed and the toe stabbing ceased. Not long after I started keto, I did end up with other issues on the same foot, 1. I got what seemed to be plantar fasciitis across bottom of my foot and 2. I had stabbing pain in the side of my left arch. The plantar fasciitis seemed to clear up after using some techniques I found online, but the stabbing pain in my arch was ongoing for months and seemed to be aggravated by cold (in swimming pools or exposure to air conditioning was worst). I tried a few things like massaging my gallbladder, which seemed to work initially and then stopped working. I was also getting leg cramps which are also aggravated by cold, so I started taking magnesium which didn’t really help until I added in calcium as well and then it all cleared up (not too surprising as going low carb can increase need for electrolytes) and I haven’t had any more issues since April last year and have lost approx. 46 kg in the last 16 months.
    So I was sitting in the lunch room on a sofa at work 2 days ago, and I had some mild stabbing pain at the top of my left ankle, I had my right leg crossed over my left at the time, so I switched them over to take the pressure off my left foot, and the pain went away. Then the exact same thing happened yesterday and once again, as soon as I switch my legs over the pain disappeared. Then this morning, as I was walking from my car to my office, I started getting stabbing pains on the top of my left ankle again, and then this has happened again sitting at my desk working, so it’s definitely increasing in frequency but does seem to matter how I’m holding my foot or putting pressure on it. I have started noticing some cramping and tightness in my calves in the last 2 weeks as well so maybe this is related. I haven’t taken any electrolyte supplements in months, so I’ve only just started to think about doing this again, hopefully it helps. I do also have issues with my spine and neck, I’ve previously been diagnosed with a bulging disk and pressure to my spine cord, and I get monthly remedial massage to help with this. I also do get numbness in my fingers, particularly if I’m leaning on 1 arm or elbow and often when I’m sleeping, even though I sleep on my back. My massage guy told me when this happens to stretch out my neck from side to side, and this helps, but I’ve noticed in the last few months I’ve rarely been getting these pins and needles anymore so I’ve been hoping my diet and intermittent fasting is helping to heal this.
    In my experience, and I haven’t gone to multiple doctors like so many people have, but controlling in blood sugars and removing inflammatory foods from my diet (for me that’s sugars, carbs, grains) definitely does seem to help with nerve pain, so I’m not sure why I’ve started having this pain over the last couple of days, maybe the damage already exists from previously. While it’s been stabbing, it’s not as extreme as previous nerve pain I’ve had, and certainly not bad as what some people on here have described, so hopefully it doesn’t worsen. I’m going to recommence magnesium and calcium and see how I go. I have a remedial massage again in a couple of weeks so if it’s still ongoing then I might mention it him. Oh, and I noticed a few people mentioning Stevia and diet soft drinks, I have recently increased my intake of “natural” flavoured mineral waters containing stevia and erythritol, so I might cut these out as well just in case. Wow, sorry for the long story including the previous history, but I can’t help feeling that it is related in some way.

  55. Michelle says:

    Following. Same symptoms started about 2 weeks ago and have had 3 episodes. They only last a couple of minutes but it is scary

  56. Charlie says:

    I have had my first experience with a severe sharp pain on the inside of my right ankle today. Seems like it is on the top front portion of the base of the tibia. For the last 6 hours or more, it has come and gone too many times to count. It might last 10 to 30 seconds, then let up and pulse back again 1 or more times, before quieting down for a while.
    I have all kinds of nerve pain. Most of it is from a bad car wreck in 2008 and following surgeries to put my legs back together. I am also on warfarin since having a blood clot when I was laid up with the broken leg.
    I have peripheral neuropathy. Dr. thinks it”s from type 2 diabetes,diagnosed in 2017, but I have had it ever since I was given Leviquin for an infection I got in an open wound while in the hospital in 2008.
    I don’t do sugar substitutes, at all.
    I have had back problems, more often since my accident , probably related to the broken ribs in my back. I haven’t experience any trouble with my back in the last month or so, so I wouldn’t think it was related.
    I was surprised to find this page with so many people having similar symptoms, with no real answers from any doctors.

  57. Amy says:

    I have said it multiple times but for the new people here….
    Peripheral Neuropathy is what’s causing most of the people posting here’s pain.
    It’s nerve damage.
    Use the googles for more info….
    Good luck!

  58. Sgt. Bergman says:

    I was a paratrooper. Many problems with nerve damage in back and neck. I have NEVER used artificial sweeteners. My neck has recently gotten worse with nerve pain radiating down my shoulders, arms and into my fingers. The pain is like a electrified Ice pick, pounded into the side of my bone, just above the inside of my right ankle. It is; obviously,in my case nerve related. I was actually worried it could be a symptom of a cancer… The VA Dr. had no idea but now I’m not worried… thanks to this post.

  59. Dina says:

    Just posting to say “me too” and so I keep up with the posts. I agree is is likely neuropathy and related to spinal issues. I also wonder if the pain that presents further into my foot is tibial tarsal syndrome. I have broken my left foot and ankle previously and the pain seems to flare up into my foot and heel when I have been walking a lot. It is the same quick, stabbing, pain that lasts just a few seconds and usually subsides completely and without reason within a few minutes that I feel on my medial ankle. I know I have herniated discs, I just haven’t had them looked at in 15 years. My back symptoms are worse when I sit a lot and I have begun having burning into the top of my thighs as well, but nothing like these pains in my left ankle/foot. I ‘m trying an anti inflammatory diet and daily turmeric and CBD oil as well as having cranial and soft tissue manipulation.

  60. Angie says:

    Me. I do both.

    How are you feeling now?

  61. Angie says:

    Why does this happen during the NIGHT when you’re peacefully SLEEPING.

    I’m 37, average weight, active at the gym 5x’s a week on the elliptical, treadmill, and weights.

    For the past few months, this has happened. On an odd night, I’d get a sharp shooting pain below my ankle (not on it, more to the front of it) that would send me bolt upright in bed. I reacted to it like a cramp, but nothing alleviates it. It last a second, maybe a few, then goes away. Thank God it never last more than 1 or 2x’s a night.

    I chalked it up to getting older and overusing my feet.

    Then last night it happened again last night while I was sleeping. Five minutes later, again. Then again. And again. I started to worry- it’s never lasted like this.

    Around 6am, I got it again. No real pain otherwise. Maybe a tingling sensation, but I can’t quite pinpoint it. I applied an ice pack, but it didn’t help. Took Advil tag dulled them, but it happened again.

    Around 9am, it happened while I was driving. It’s happened throughout the day and I’m already stressing what tonight is going to be like. The pain is unbearable and takes my breath away. Makes me wanna cry and I pray it goes away. Just the thought of it freaks me out.

    I thought about going to the ER, but decided against it. I have Advil on standby, but I try to take that as little as possible. It’s like everyone else describes- being stabbed/electrical zap/white hot poker being driven through your foot. It’s such a small area that hurts.

    No diabetes. No high blood pressure. No medications. No neuropathy. I’ve had four before, but it affected the big toe joint on the opposite foot and that was NOTHING like this. This is much worse.

    Please let me know if anyone finds anything. I hope to sleep tonight with no issues. I’m exhausted.

  62. OMG I’m here too late!
    Neeeways

    To the original post, I don’t know why I can’t reply any other way. Sooo

    Foot pain + bladder problems = HUUUUGE RED FLAG!!!

    More often than not is the spinal cord being compressed from a herniated discs. Sometimes what happens is that the disc will protrude and push the nerves in the spine. I’m guessing it was a small thing and it dried so it’s not bothering you. I would get your L4 L5 checked

  63. Nellie says:

    So I have very similar pain just above my right ankle. The stabbing pain goes away but is still VERY sensitive to the touch. If I put my right ankle on top of my left knee to tie a shoe, for example, the pain is awful. Every time. I had back surgery 15 years ago on L4/L5/S1, (I’m 49 now) and I experience some numbness/tingling in my right toes (just the smaller 3 toes). But the ankle pain is new. I exercise regularly and am at a healthy weight. I also have pain where the outside of my calf hinges at the knee. (I guess that’s the very top of my fibula?) I have started the calf stretches and going to yoga, and am reading everything I can about Peripheral Neuropathy (thank you Amy). I am starting to cut out caffeine and inflammatory foods. Hope to reduce the sensitivity to the touch. These posts have been very helpful – hope you all are feeling better.

  64. Stephen says:

    Nerve injury in the ankle, neck or elsewhere like lumbar or brain for that matter? This happened to me a few days ago after being on my feet for 10hrs in relatively comfortable (not well arch supported) shoes. Didn’t drink much water all day and at night woke up with a calf cramp that shot me out of bed. Just yesterday started the extreme sharp pain at top of ankle (as others describe) while driving. This is either associated with the calf cramp, which may or may not be associated with the long standing at work. While it could be a sign of Cardio vascular issue (most likely clotting), I sense and would agree it is nerve related. It’s a matter of finding the nerve location that is inflamed or pinching that is causing this to occur. Making an appointment with PT/Chiro to explore – KYP.

  65. Stephen says:

    Today I was able to recreate the pain by placing physical pressure on the outside of my left calf muscle, just inside the outer bone. It triggered the ankle pain. I am a thin person so I could get deep enough to trigger it. The massive calf cramp I had the other night is very likely the culprit of the nerve pinch, inflammation, hopefully not any long term damage. The source of the leg cramp is unknown, happens rarely, but seems to relate to low water intake and/or my recent long standing (10hrs) in uncomfortable shoes. Visit a PT/Chiro and have them work on this area for possible elevation, it’s also entire possible the nerve issue is elsewhere – good luck and hope it doesn’t last for long.

  66. Aisha Martin says:

    The pain for me started happening a few days ago. A sharp pain (like being ice picked) in my left ankle, there for a couple seconds making me cry out each time and then gone as if nothing happened!

    Reading all these accounts, I’m worried that it’ll get worse and more frequent. I saw someone mention Stevia and other non-sugar sweeteners. This could be my problem because in the past month I changed my diet to low carb because of my diabetes. At first I thought it might be peripheral nephropathy like others have mentioned, but I’ve had diabetes for decades and this has never happened. I think it’s more likely the sweeteners that are doing it for me. I’ll cut them out and see…

    • Ima Cynic says:

      Just so you know, I never ate sweeteners when I had the problem. It went away and fortunately it has never come back. It is very bizarre. Based on all of the comments here, it is clearly a common issue. Also, there seems to be no clear consensus as to what caused it for anyone and very few people feel they ever found out. I assume if it persisted I would have seen a specialist and maybe had some tests done to try to sort it out.

      I do not think it is typical diabetic neuropathy as that would be more numbness and burning for most people. I do think it must have been some type of nerve irritation. I just don’t know at what level the nerve was irritated – foot/ankle or closer to the spine. I’m glad it is gone for me but it would have been much more satisfying to have a definite answer.

      There certainly is no harm in cutting out artificial sweeteners. I think they get blamed for a lot of vague problems because so many people use artificial sweeteners. It is something a lot of people have in common.

      Good luck sorting it out.

  67. Jan Brown says:

    I have suffered with this stabbing pain and electric shocks in my ankle over the past year, but thankfully haven’t had any attacks in the last couple of months. After research, I believe my symptoms define it as Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.

  68. Donna says:

    I’m so relieved to see people still posting here. I am a 59 year old female and the pain is on the inside of my left ankle. I do have a severely arthritic hip (right side). The ankle pain happens even when I have taken a prescription NSAID (diclofenac) for my hip. I only take the diclofenac occasionally, but it is hard to fathom that a drug that is so effective for my hip pain has absolutely no effect on whatever is going on with my ankle.

  69. Louisa says:

    For me the pain seems to follow bad sitting posture. I’m quite small and have problems getting comfortable at desks so put too much pressure on the ball of my foot (like being on tiptoe for a long period of time). I don’t drink coffee, or soda or artificial sweeteners. I am over weight but not diabetic. We’re now on day 3 of stabbing pains, intermittently.
    I saw Amy’s post about it being peripheral neuropathy and it might account for some. It feels very similar to what I had in my knee, caused by flat feet and got insoles to correct, but with working from home all the time (corona) I rarely wear shoes anymore and imagine it seems from this and bad foot posture, as with others it gets aggregated driving ( similar foot position to tiptoe)

  70. Séamus O’Shea says:

    I get it and consume no artificial sweeteners

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