mild curiosity...

ankle sprain which never fully recovered

5 messages
03/12/2011 at 04:17

I have a bit of a concern over my ankle.

In January (2011) sprained it for the second time in about 6 months, it swelled just like it did the first time however with the appropiate RICE and as I was resting what turned out to be a stress fracture on the other leg at the time, I rested, the swelling went away and much earlier on then the first time I was able to walk around without any limping.

Thing is, it doesn't really feel like its fully healed! Its annoying more then painful, like a niggle, worse then a twisted ankle type pain but nowhere near the same as a properly sprained one.

I have had sports massages on the ankle and surrounding area, I have tried laying off for a while, I had orthotics for a while and nothing really helps. From the angle I can see it, its definetly not the same as the unaffected one but to the view of a doctor and physio it doesn't seem to look swollen and that means no matter what I say they just shrug their shoulders, say "dunno" and thats that, no help no recommendations and no idea how I get the damn thing fixed! I have tried ice, compression wraps when running, I have tried elevation every day after exercising for a good 20mins plus, I have tried ibuprofen gel and even deep freeze spray, nothing seems to make any difference

I have thought about going back to my doctor but have no idea what to say. It did show up on a scan but as the scan was done only 4 months after the sprain happened no one was in the least concerned and so no advice was given. I doubt I'd get a scan again as it was a radioactive one I was warned about having too many when it was done (as in: "don't have another one again please!") 

Has anyone had the same deal with a sprained ankle? Are they not supposed to heal properly? Is this how its going to be for the rest of my ankles life now? Just feels so odd to me as it did heal 100% the first time around, but just not this time. Have no idea what to do or even what to ask for in way of getting help, I am not a fan of the physios I keep being referred to as in my experience they have never ever gotten anything right:  (telling me I was making things up when I complained at what later turned out to be a SF and yes I did make an official complaint. This was three separate physios.)

03/12/2011 at 08:03

What sort of "scan" did you have and what were they looking for? An MRI is more usual - one that uses radiowaves - for looking for SF or injury.  What exactly did the scan pick up? If it was simply a sprained ankle then scar tissue build up can cause it to feel different, scar tissue can adhere to the surrounding tissues and pull causing pain.  Did you rehab the injury using a wobbleboard etc to deter the build-up of scar tissue?

If you are seriously concerned I'd push for an MRI.  I too have been misdiagnosed for a SF but recognise that this type of injury can be difficult to pick up on if you are not an expert. 

03/12/2011 at 09:19
Hi Jennn

Sorry no answers here but am curious because I have had PF (18months) and a problem with the same ankle (12months). I have had an MRI scan which rather annoyingly showed up nothing on the ankle. I have done everything in the book and more besides. Have just had 11 weeks off. Niggle is less but still there and I have made a decision to start running again albeit very slowly and also in more minimalist shoes, so I look forward to seeing if anyone has any suggestions for you. Good luck anyway.
03/12/2011 at 20:53
Sneglen - don't get too vibed that the MRI showed nothing, it's actually rather good! You've got a functional problem i.e. what you do with it rather than a structural problem - what your stuck with. I'd big up the control issue, and starting slow is a great place to start.

Tiger - agree with lots of what your say. Go for the MRI jennn - sounds very lateral gutter and synovitic, and may need some intervention. If you suspect a SF then a nuclear bone scan is the best option.

Good Luck

HW
04/12/2011 at 02:47

Thanks for replies.

The original scan I had was an MRI (for the SF) But it was inconclusive as there was too much inflammation all over my calf and knee. At that point the doctor (orthopedic specialist) was happy to label the calf pain as shin splints and I was OK with that, but as a precaution sent me to have a nuclear bone scan. This is where they inject you with radio active fluid and it somehow adheres to only the damaged parts on your body and then shows this up in a scan which happens about 5 hours after the initial injection. Scary stuff (the radio active part) so wouldn't want to do it again so was kinda hoping not to!

The nuclear bone scan showed up the "very obvious stress fracture" (doctor who scanned's words) and also cartilidge damage to my knees. I had also the ankle injury show up.

I then had the appointment with the orthopedic doctor which seemed to be very quick, he was running very late anyway and my results were far more then I or I think they had anticipated- a lot to fit into a very short appointment. He seemed far more concerned with my knees -probably because they had told me they wont ever recover and will only get worse with time. I was advised to rest the stress fracture (which I did and it subsiquently recovered.) and within the space of about 7 or 8 minutes, discharged. The knees flare now and then but are never a major issue, in fact I feel my ankle far more then my knees! (but not as much as I did with my SF). I did mention my ankle at the time but was assuming as it was then only 4 months on it was still healing and just would take a little bit longer. Infact now nearly a year later (11 months) its not gotten any better for the past 9-10.

I did and am still doing plenty of wobble board stuff- I do a lot of my stretching on them (quad stretches and so on) I am quite proud of my balancing I use both sides of the bosu ball to test myself, eyes closed if I feel like it and moving arms around also creates an inbalance, does I think, help with my running. But not with my ankle. I can feel it irritates it and have tried also laying off the board or bosu ball (done both) for a few weeks to see if it helped. Nope, no change at all, no less irriation to my ankle. I notice it more when I am walking or after a longish run and just kinda curious and wondering what to do to make it get better properly.

I am wondering if another nuclear scan would be the right thing being the last one I had was in April, am wondering if the doctor/s will accept its the same as it was before rather then testing to prove this is the case.

Edited: 04/12/2011 at 02:49

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