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Athletic Training

Ankle Injury

07/06/2010

Question:

I was at the gym jumping rope and came down on my left ankle. I had a sharp pain go up my foot into my ankle. It lasted for about 10 seconds and then went away, so I finished my class. The next week I went to Disneyland and walked on it a lot. I have pain anterior to my ankle that goes around to just below my lateral malleolus and that shoots down the outside of the bottom of my foo. The more I walk on it, the worse it feels. It feels a little bit weak in the morning but as the day goes on it gets to the point where I`m limping. I don`t know what to do and nothing seems to be helping. I`d really like to get back into my gym routine as quickly as possible and do it pain free. Should I continue taking care of it at home, or go see a physician? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time!

Answer:

The pain that you are experiencing on the anterior part of your ankle may be a result of a sprain to your anterior talo-fibular ligament. The pain you describe on the lateral and bottom part of your foot may be related to a strain of your peroneal tendon. Both are very common injuries resulting from the mechanism that you described. Walking a long distance as you did would certainly exacerbate an injury to this area.

Weakness and pain that increases throughout the day is also very common along with swelling over the anterior part of the ankle. The best treatment for a lateral ankle sprain and peroneal strain is ice 15-20 min 2 times a day along with relative rest from strenuous activity. Range of motion exercises at 2 weeks post injury and strength exercises around 3-4 weeks post-injury would follow. You may want to seek formal athletic training services for this phase.

The lateral pain that radiates to the outside and bottom of your foot could possibly be related to a more serious injury called a Jones fracture which is an injury to the fifth metatarsal. Therefore, if your symptoms in this area are persistent you should seek evaluation by a physician for an x-ray of your foot and ankle.

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Response by:

Kristen  Bretz, MS, ATC Kristen Bretz, MS, ATC
Physician Extender at The Sports Medicine Lewis Center
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University