Hey guys, thanks for taking time to read my post. I have a long history of ankle injuries (all on my left ankle). When I was younger, it was ankle sprains in gymnastics. Then in my early 20s, I was playing flag football and and came down on the side of my foot and heard the most sickening pop and felt the most excruciating pain. I had completely torn 2 of the lateral ligaments. I had them reconstructed, was in a cast for 2-3 wks, in a boot for 4 wks and on crutches for a month. Had PT. I went back to work too early while still in the boot (on my feet for 13 hours a day) and had some problems with it from that. But it got better. About 2 years later, I was hiking and felt another pop. Didn't even roll it. Immediately a knot formed and swelling and bruising. Another MRI, more treatment, but no surgery. 2 years after that, I sprained the same ankle, tore cartilage, and broke the 5th metatarsal. Crutches for 6 wks, NWB, and a bone stimulator. Was told I'd need surgery at some point to clean out the scar tissue.
Those were the main injuries. Since then, I have 3-4 sprains a year that will bother me for about 4-6 wks each. I usually have to use crutches for about 2 a year. Sometimes the least little thing will turn my ankle. When it happens, I have swelling and sometimes bruising and definitely pain. Pain on the outside of my ankle down the side of my foot and into all of my toes. I have problems moving the foot side to side, pushing off the ball of my foot (even with just walking) and moving my toes. My toes become SO tender and moving them is out of the question after a sprain. I ice it, wrap it, brace it, elevate it and use crutches for about 1-2 wks. If it weren't for pushing off the ball of the foot or bending my toes, I wouldn't need the crutches. It's not the weight as much as it is the bending.
Currently, I sprained my ankle 3 wks ago. The swelling is almost gone, no discoloration, but the pain is still there. It's really painful, VERY stiff, and my toes are SO tender and still can't move them without pain. My husband massages them to try to loosen them up and sometimes that helps, but they tighten back up. So I'm still using crutches. I try to use just one, but sometimes it's bad enough I need both. The cold, rainy weather makes the pain worse (like today).
My question is has anybody else experienced this and if so, what did you do about it? I don't want to go back to the doctor for simple sprains, but is this the way it's going to be from now on? Should I still be needing crutches for sprains and does anyone else have the pain and tenderness in their toes after a sprained ankle? Thanks for your help!!
Also being a competitive athlete most of my life and experiencing chronic sprains, I've always been told that each you sprain it, you are that much more likely to sprain it again. That basically a sprain never fully heals to 100%. I used to sprain my ankles all the time, constantly rolling them. Mine never got to the point of needing surgery or having the lingering effects that you have. At this point, if I were you, I would look for some kind of a specialist. It doesnt sound normal to have the frequency and severity of sprains that you are having. I dont know the specifics, but there may be some kind of surgical intervention or reconstruction needed, good luck
Socrriss18-Thanks so much for your reply. Glad to know I'm not the only one with a history of a lot of sprains. I, too, have heard that the more you sprain it, the more it is likely to keep occurring. I agree though, that I'm still having too many. I have an orthopedic surgeon (who did my reconstructive surgery) but don't want to go see him if I don't have to. I'm wondering if my ankle is so weak and unstable now that when I do sprain it, it just isn't strong enough to heal without a lot of treatment? You said you sprained your ankles several times in sports. Did you ever have pain in your toes and pain when moving your toes?
Hollywood, have they ever considered ankle instability? My daughter had a tarsal coalition which was missed in the MRI until she asked for a radioligist who specializes in feet to re-read it and there it was, clear as day (to him!). Just a thought since you continue to sprain it. It's true that once you have sprains the foot is weaker but it could be more going on.
Jane-I'm thinking I probably will have to have the scar tissue removed and I do hear that it helps a lot. I'm almost getting to the point where I'm "looking forward" to that even though that sounds bad. But not in a place to schedule it quite yet. So you think the toes are related to the Jones fracture then? It was 4 1/2 years ago now and has healed and I haven't really had any other issues with it. I only have pain and stiffness in my toes after an ankle sprain now. Thank you for responding!!
Emmie-That is interesting about your daughter. I know I had been checked after the first injury for sinus tarsi syndrome and the coalition and they didn't find one, but I haven't been checked since the other injuries. And as for my toes, primarily the 4 little ones, but the big one is sore and stiff usually in the mornings or if I've used crutches all day. The little ones (esp the last 3) are incredibly sore and stiff all the time. They get okay when the sprain heals, but after each sprain, I have pain and stiffness. I bend them back and forth gently as exercises and my husband will massage them and passively do range of motion with them and it hurts. That pain and the pain from pushing off the ball of my foot keeps me on crutches longer than I'd like. What do you think? Thanks so much!
I'm just guessing here. You sprain the tendons/ligaments that control the toes? All I know about toes is that the FDL tendon controls the last two toes. That one was harvested in my tendon transfer surgery and it took me months to move them normally. I have Anterior Tarsal Tunnel that affects my big toe and the second toe. It is push off pain and I also have numbness between these two toes going back up toward the ankle.
Emmie, At first I thought I had sprained the ligaments or tendons that control the toes. But am I spraining them EVERY single time I sprain my ankle? Seems unlikely. I guess it could happen. I wonder if it has to do with referred pain or swelling or something. My ankle isn't swollen anymore, but it is right after the injury occurs. I wonder if the swelling goes to my toes and by the time it is gone, they are stiff from not being able to move them? I'm guessing. I just wish they wouldn't hurt. They prolong my recovery and the amount of time I spend on crutches. Crutches and I have a love/hate relationship. I hate them for obvious reasons, but I love them because they make life with a sprained ankle/toes a lot easier and less painful!