An aneurysm is defined as bulging that occurs in a blood vessel wall 3. The aneurysm has thinner, weaker walls than the rest of the blood vessel 3. The danger of an aneurysm is rupture, which may cause severe and potentially fatal internal bleeding, depending on its location. The most common types of aneurysms are those located in the aorta at any point along its structure, from the chest to the abdomen. Less common are peripheral aneurysms, which are those located in the extremities. An aneurysm, no matter where it is located, can cause severe and irreparable damage if not diagnosed and treated.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Common Symptoms

Pain in the ankle at the pulse point behind the ankle bone is a common symptom caused by the pressure placed on the vessel as blood circulates through the affected area. Pain may be dull, throbbing and consistent, or sharp and intermittant, depending on the size and exact location of the aneurysm.

Pain and Swelling

Pain or tenderness will most likely be felt around the ankle joint. However, pain and swelling may also be found in the foot or toes if blood flow is compromised by the swelling.

Numbness or Tingling

Because the blood vessel swells, surrounding nerves might be compressed, leading to sensations of tingling or numbness in the foot or toes.


Because of pressure caused by swollen blood vessels against nerves or nerve endings in close proximity to the aneurysm in the ankle, muscle fatigue or weakness may often be felt. This weakness may include difficult walking, or intense pain when pressure is placed on the affected ankle.

Addtional Symptoms of a Peripheral Aneurysm

An aneurysm in the vessels leading to or from the ankle may also cause a pulsating sensation as the blood pushed from the aorta down into the femoral artery or popliteal vein reaches the affected area. Cramping is also often experienced as surrounding muscles react to the presence of the aneurysm. Some individuals develop sores or ulcers on the foot and toes of the affected limb. Pain in such cases does not disappear with rest.


If not treated, a peripheral aneurysm in the ankle may ultimately lead to gangrene as blood flow to the foot or toes is compromised. In many cases, such tissue death may result in the need for amputation of the affected limb.