Join Date: May 2012
Location: Carrot River, Saskatchewan, Canada
| | Chronic ankle sprain
I have chronic back pain from disc herniation L4-S1 for over thirty years as result of an auto vs. bicycle crash (in the bike lane!). I have right side pain in the hip, radiating down through the sciatic nerve into the toes. I also have occasionally had my right ankle "collapse" while walking, as though the ligaments on the outside of my ankle are weak. Ultrasound therapy has not helped, nor have exercises given to me by therapists, although I do them, including yoga and core strengthening, to improve balance.
I used to walk a lot, for exercise, and because I enjoy it. I wear proper shoes, and have added orthotics within the past year, following another auto accident, which has made all my pain and disability issues much worse.
In July, 2010, I was a passenger in a van that was rammed at high speed from behind by a very drunk driver, sending the van literally flying through the air, into a farm field, over a ditch, finally landing on the front, passenger side wheel. My right foot was caught between the seat and the door of the van. Jammed in place throughout the jerk, bang and bump of landing, I could not extricate it until I opened the van door.
Then, I had to walk over rough terrain, down into the ditch through high weeds, while wearing insubstantial sandals (we were returning from a shopping trip in the late afternoon). This made the pain I felt worse, of course, but there was nothing I could do for it. I had to make this 500 foot trip several times, to get help, return to check on my disabled husband, who could not get out of the van, each trip making all my pain worse.
The ankle swelled, and once home, I elevated it, iced it, and wrapped it with supportive elastic bandage, while taking aspirin and ibuprofen for the pain and swelling.
The doctor sent me to a physical therapist who did not do ultrasound, which had been prescribed. She gave me exercises, which I could not do, and performed massages,which were intolerable. She referred me to an podiatrist for orthotics, to fix some gait problems she detected that might be exacerbating my injury and my back pain. I got them, and wear them as prescribed.
The orthopedist diagnosed "chronic ankle sprain" and sent me to Saskatchewan Disabilities for an ankle brace, which I wear as prescribed.
Cycling seemed to be the only exercise that did not make the pain and swelling return. I cycled as much as I could, all summer. Now, however, winter makes that impossible, here in Saskatchewan.
I have had an MRI, and a bone scan, as well as several x-rays, all of which appear normal. However, I usually cannot walk, especially now that the weather is cold, with icy roads and sidewalks (I wear Yak-Traks or winter tracks for traction on all my outdoor boots and shoes. I also use Nordic trekking poles, which help balance and take a bit of stress off my ankle.)
I have read that ankle injuries can take up to a year to heal, but this has been longer. The pain and swelling returns, over and over, no matter what I wear or do. I have the feeling that, despite the brace or bandaging, my athletic shoes no matter how soft the ankle cuff, presses on or pinches my nerves and ligaments. I can feel knots like scar tissue when I palpate those areas, especially on the anterior talofibular ligament and the calcaneofibular ligament and anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament, where it seems to cross the anterior talofibular ligament. I got a great picture on Wikipedia (searched "ankle ligaments") showing the structure of the ankle, so well, in fact, that my doctor added the copy I gave her to my file.
I really miss walking. Rest does seem to help. However, I am the sole caregiver to my quadriplegic husband, and have not been able to do general housework for over a year and a half. We live in rural Saskatchewan, and it seems impossible to find someone to assist with the heavy housework. I manage to cook, I sing in the choir, as well as volunteer at our library, but at 62, I am really concerned about the outlook for healing. I know I am not walking well, and the metatarsals in my right foot have begun to hurt now, too,
I have fibromyalgia, as well, and do yoga, as well as relaxation, and have a good diet. My recent complete blood tests show that my cholesterol, glucose tolerance, liver enzymes, thyroid, and all else is great. My doctor says "keep doing what you are doing, as you are in great health." However, this ankle injury has been a tremendous blow to my quality of life, as well as that of my husband, of course.
I know this post is long, and this is my first post here, so please forgive the length, but I am very frustrated. Soft tissue injuries (if this is what it is) seem nearly unforgiving. Where do I turn, next? I cannot afford to keep "resting" up one day, down the next. Any suggestions or ideas from others' experiences would be appreciated.