All the weight transferred from your upper body, down through the pelvis and into the knees, eventually meets the ankle joints. The human foot is well designed to transfer that load into the ground, spring back, and produce forward locomotion. 

A variety of auto-immune disorders (e.g. fibromyalgia, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis) can cause significant pain when walking. The antibodies that correlate with these disorders are typically detected through lab work ordered by your physician.

Osteoarthritis is much more difficult to treat because it typically results from the wear-and-tear of advanced age.

Regardless of the diagnosis causing your ankle pain, a strong case involving this medical condition typically charts the following course:

  • Referrals: Establish care with a podiatrist. Your primary care physician can refer you to one.
  • Symptoms: Tell all your providers what you cannot do in your everyday life with your hand(s) because of this problem.
  • Compliance: Take your pain medications every day. Find a system to make this work for you. (If the SSA sees any signs of non-compliance in your medical records, then they will severely discount the severity of this condition.)
  • Escalate your Treatment: Ask your doctor about these procedures:
    • X-ray, MRI or CT-scan. The MRI or CT-scan could be more expensive, but they are more precise imaging that will show more about what’s causing your pain than just an x-ray.
    • Physical therapy. Go to all the sessions if you get one—do not miss those sessions or quit, even if you feel like physical therapy is not working for you.
    • Trigger point injections or corticosteroid injections.
      • The Doctor will ask about how much relief this provided. Emphasize what you are still unable to do, not just how much relief you felt.
    • Discuss surgical options. Whether or not you get surgery is your choice. Obviously going through with it will make a strong impression on your judge about how severe this problem is for you. But even the doctor writing down in the medical records that he/she recommended the surgery will create a strong impression too.
  • Medical Opinion: Ask your doctor to complete the Treating Source Statement (Packard Law Firm provides this).
  • Durable Medical Equipment: If you are having problems with walking around, then ask your provider to prescribe a walking boot, cane, ankle brace, or walker. Take it with you to every appointment–do not leave it in the car or at home. 

Written By: Jacob Hugentobler, Hearing Attorney

Image Credit: 3 Reasons Your Ankle Hurts and What to Do About It, The Podiatry Group of South Texas (03/04/2022), available at