There are a variety of reasons your ankle may be causing you pain. During our assessment, the focus is on WHY you have pain, rather than on the anatomical structure (i.e. disc, ligament, tendon, joint). Once we know that answer, then we can find a solution.
Ankle injuries can be chronic or acute. If it is an acute injury (i.e. ankle sprain) then the therapist will focus on decreasing pain, increasing movement and gradually progression back to your activities.
If it is a chronic injury, then we need to search for the cause. If we don't know the cause then we are only treating symptoms and that will not fix your pain permanently!
Here are a few reasons you may be in pain but your therapist will be the one to assess your injury and create a treatment plan.
1) Joint tightness - your ankle is not flexible and therefore you put too much pressure on certain structures when walking, running etc.
2) Poor balance - increases the stress on the ankles if those muscles are trying to work too hard to keep you upright.
3) Muscle weakness - frequently a lack in strength in certain muscles, especially in the calves, will contribute to ankle pain. Also, assessing the hip stability is important when assessing the ankle. The therapist will need to assess those muscles to see which ones are the problem.
4) Muscle tightness - if certain muscles are too tight then they are not able to move in the proper patterns. A muscle that is too tight or too stretched can be a problem!
Who can help you?
What might be involved in their treatment?
- Assessment of movement, balance and strength
- Assessment of gait (walking pattern)
- Education - to teach you what is causing your pain and how to make it better as well as how to prevent it from returning in the future
- Exercises - teaching you how to do the proper exercises to decrease your pain and improve your strength and/or mobility
- Manual therapy - your therapist may need to release muscles or mobilize joints to improve their ability to move
- Orthotics, footwear or compression sock assessment with our pedorthist
- Referral back to family doctor for imaging or to a specialist - if the therapist feels there is a need for an Xray, U/S or MRI then they will contact your family physician to discuss it. They may also suggest a specialist's referral if treatment is not progressing as it should.