Persistent ankle pain following a sprained ankle? We have the answer!
Are you suffering from continuing pain after an ankle sprain?
It’s pretty much par for the course that most runners will, at some stage in their running career, suffer the pain and inconvenience of a sprained ankle. Whether caused by planting your spike at an awkward angle in the muck of a cross country race, or as the result of a stumble on uneven ground, it’s a fairly common injury.
Putting your training schedule and your ankle on ice:
The initial effects of a sprained ankle are inflammation, heat and bruising accompanied by pain when putting weight on the ankle. You’ll undoubtedly have to put your training schedule, along with your ankle, on ice for a few weeks. But what do you do when, after a few weeks, the pain just won’t go away? What if you’ve had local physio on the ankle ligaments and yet the pain on the outside of the ankle is still preventing you from returning to running or even walking?
Getting to the root of ankle pain after a strain:
As spinal and nerve physiotherapy experts specialising in spinal problems, nerve pain and sports injuries, the team at Apex Clinic is well used to finding the source of persistent pains. We find that many patients suffer pain on the outside of the ankle following an ankle sprain, which does not clear within 4-8 weeks and may even gradually worsen following the initial sprain for no apparent reason.
Is scar tissue around the nerve to blame?
In our experience (and also supported by medical literature on the subject), the cause of prolonged ankle pain at the outside of the ankle following a sprain is often scar tissue from the injured (lateral) ligament at the ankle which attaches onto a neighbouring passing nerve (the superficial peroneal nerve) at the outside of the ankle. What happens is that the scar tissue heals and prevents the nerve from moving freely at the ankle joint. This means that when the person tries to run or walk for a distance, the nerve is restricted in its movement and as a result, causes pain.
Tackling nerve pain: local treatment to the ankle WILL NOT work:
There is quite simply no amount of local treatment to the ankle ligaments or joint that will clear this pain. Even steroid injections into the outside ankle area will not clear the pain.
Let Apex Clinic clear your ankle pain:
The good news is that in nearly all cases, outside ankle pain can be cleared completely with the correct treatment. We recommend specialist assessment of this presentation at Apex Clinic by one of our physios who are all experienced in treating nerve pain. The movement of the nerve that passes by the outside ankle region will be tested to see if it is being caught or restricted there. Treatment consists of the physio moving the leg and ankle in such a way as to free up the nerve caught at the outside of the ankle. A programme of home exercises will then be given to work in parallel with the physio treatment to speed up the process of clearing the pain.
Don’t let ankle pain following a sprain hold you back!