If you have suffered an ankle sprain – especially as a recurrent injury – then you probably have never really fully recovered the full “this is my foot” feeling.
The looseness of the tissues and the stiffness of the joint end up leaving you with a sense that your foot is just not quite your own!
One of the results of an ankle sprain is that the talar head shunts forward in the mortise like joint made between the lower end of the tibia and fibula. (see the diagram for anatomical landmarks) The effect of this is that the ankle can never recover its full ‘dorsiflexion’ – the opposite of pointing you’re your toes.
This is important when you think about movements such as squatting, lunging and running (heel strike moment)– even walking!
The way in which we have to transfer force form the ground through the leg changes and so do the pivot points of the joints.
The symptoms you may then experience can include:
- Stiff ankle joint
- Achilles pain – the changed load creates a whipping effect on the Achilles as shock absorption doesn’t happen as easily or neutrally
- Lateral leg pain – tight muscles on the outside of your calf
- Mid foot pain as the foot goes through final pronation too quickly
- Knee pain – due to rotation patterns increasing from the ground up
- Low back or buttock pain – possibly due to sacroiliac joint (SIJ) taking the brunt of shock absorption. This is usually more likely if you have a tendency to be more mobile/ hypermobile.
The key to resolving the imbalances are to:
- Restore full foot and ankle joint mobility
- Reduce the muscle tension in those muscles working overly hard to recover balance
- Strengthen the weakened spring muscles in the foot system