I often encounter clients that say things along the line of: “My sprained ankle still hurts after 3 months!” or; “Ever since I had that sprained ankle, my foot has never been quite the same”.
Usually, they are having difficulties with things like wearing high heels or climbing stairs, or perhaps while exercising eg squatting or trying to get a good calf stretch – all because the ankle feels like it is “stuck”.
A sprained ankle is one of the most common sporting injuries, particularly within certain sports such as touch football, netball and basketball. Watching my daughter play netball one weekend recently, I noticed several players experience this terrible traumatic event.
When we sprain or roll our ankle, our immediate reaction is to catch our breath from the pain.
Often it will seem to swell up before our very eyes, or the area will become quite bruised over the next few days, making it quite clear that we’ve sustained some sort of ligament or muscle damage.
But My Sprained Ankle wasn’t even that Bad!
For others, however, there may be no visible signs of injury and they may be able to walk normally pretty much straight away, not realising the damage that’s been done.
It’s only further down the track they gradually realise that their ankle just hasn’t been the same ever since – 3, 6, 12, or even 18 months afterwards!
There are two main reasons why these individuals are experiencing pain and discomfort so long after they sprained their ankle:
- Twisting, rolling, or spraining your ankle places incredible abnormal forces on the bones and joints in your foot and surrounding structures. With 26 bones and 43 joints in the foot, there is a lot of potential for something to go wrong!
- Spraining your ankle can disrupt the neurological pathway connecting your foot to your brain. Normally, we don’t need to think about being able to walk; our brain automatically knows the position of our feet, and how to move them. However, an ankle sprain can interrupt these messages between the brain and foot.
As a result, the individual begins to realise that the ankle is still hurting months after the event.
In the immediate aftermath of rolling or spraining your ankle, applying ice will help to reduce swelling and bruising – if it is particularly painful, x-rays may be called for determine if there have been any foot fractures. For many people, a day or two of resting the ankle may well be all that is required to get them back to normal.
If Your Ankle Still Hurts After 3 Months
If pain or discomfort persists however, further treatment may be required. You may find yourself limping in high heels, struggling to sit on the ground with crossed legs, or or even experiencing secondary problems such as sore knees and lower back pain, ever since you injured your ankle.
Fortunately, there is a treatment option: Foot Mobilisation Therapy, a fairly recent development in the field of podiatry. It is a simple process incorporating gentle traction or stretch, while placing the joint through the normal range of movement.
The foot mobilisation technique allows the joint to simply realign itself. Sometimes, the patient may be lucky enough to hear a click or a pop when this happens, though not always. It’s not painful, and the pop or click does not indicate any form of damage – rather, that full range of movement in the joint has been restored.
Treatment for Persistent Ankle Problems
At Trevor Lane Podiatry we are proud to be the first (and currently only) podiatrist in the Redlands providing Foot Mobilisation Therapy.
Once the ankle joint has been gently persuaded back into place, the focus is on restoring the electrical pathways between brain and foot (and vice versa). Your podiatrist may apply kinetic tape, to remind your body how the foot is supposed to function; and you may be prescribed certain exercises to help you regain balance and muscular strength in the affected foot and leg – for example, stretches using a resistance band (or theraband).
Suffering with a sore ankle for several months following a sprain, isn’t something you should just “put up with”, or dismiss as part of “old age”.
If you are suffering any pain or difficulties with movement in the months following an ankle sprain, call for an appointment today on 3207 4736. Although this type of podiatry treatment is not covered by Medicare, at Trevor Lane Podiatry we strive to keep our fees affordable for all.