Ankle Pain Treatment

The specific process of treatment for your ankle pain is dependent on what the underlying cause of your ankle pain is. The unique underlying cause of your ankle pain determines what treatment will likely work as well as which treatment is even appropriate to try. For this and many other reasons all good treatment plans start with correct diagnosis. 

By far the most common ankle pains are those that are caused by combinations of tendinosis, micro-tears, weakness, overuse, poor alignment and scar tissue.  In other words they are mostly mechanical in nature. Depending on which issues you have some of the following treatments may help you manage your ankle pain. At our clinic we generally find that what works best is specific combinations of the treatments below. 

Acupuncture & Dry Needling For Ankle Pain 

Acupuncture can be useful in the treatment of many cases of ankle pain. Acupuncture aims to promote blood flow, release pressure points in muscle and reduce pain signals. Needles are inserted very superficially in and around the area of pain and we generally leave them in for around 10 minutes or so. During a trial of acupuncture treatment for ankle pain it is often necessary to go twice per week for 1-3 weeks to figure out whether it is going to worn in your particular case. 

Cryotherapy For Ankle Pain

Many people find the use of ice for treatment of ankle pain can prove to be extremely beneficial. Ice works by interrupting pain signals within the nerve, stimulated activity of blood vessels and reducing both inflammatory and pain chemistry in the ankle. The key to success with using ice for treatment of ankle pain is knowing how often and how long. 

Scar Tissue Release (Graston Technique/Guasha) For Ankle Pain

A great many people suffer with stubborn ankle pains that relate to old sprain injuries that didn’t heal up neatly. Scraping gently around the connective tissue of joints using a blunt scraping tool is a very useful way to manage scar tissue around ankles. Guasha is the old fashioned Chinese name for this method but there are many others from different cultures and there are more modern techniques like Graston Technique. The idea with all of them is to break up and assist with remodeling of microscopic scar tissue adhesions, which are a major cause of ankle pain.

Deep Tissue Release For Ankle Pain

Many cases of ankle pain are heavily affected by myofascial trigger points (the sore spot you most often feel in muscles when you get a massage). At Featherston St. Pain Clinic we consider ourselves to be world class at finding and releasing the most hard to find and most stubborn trigger points. It’s not fun to have done (we know that ourselves) but boy does it help with persistent ankle pains. 

Post Isometric Stretches For Ankle Pain

Stretching is not really what most people will tell you that it is, because with stretching all is not what it seems. Believe it or not when you successfully increase the extensibility of a muscle with stretching you have not increased its elasticity. Muscles respond to stretching through a process of ‘reprogramming’ in tiny little microprocessors called ‘muscle spindles’. An increase in ‘flexibility’ is essentially a software upgrade and not even remotely like stretching a material. It is our understanding of facts like these that help us to work with you on more effective ways of stretching to increase the flexibility and extensibility of your joints and muscles. 

Joint Mobilisation For Ankle Pain

Joints that have pain are more often than not also lacking full mobility. Restoring full range of motion to ankle joints is an essential part of managing pain and keeping them healthy in the long term. Joints are every bit as responsive to stretching and mobilisation as muscles are.

Extracorporeal Shock Therapy For Ankle Pain

EST is essentially the use of sound waves to stimulate connective tissue into healing itself. The technology was originally developed to blast kidney stones but unexpectedly it was found that it also stimulates connective tissue regeneration. In that sense it is not unlike the guasha mentioned above. We do not use EST at our clinic but we are big believers in it, we make referrals in cases where we can see it may be a helpful component in your rehabilitation. Our policy is to always be completely open about whether we think we can help your ankle pain and to send you somewhere appropriate in cases where we cannot assist with the tools at our disposal.

Balance & Proprioception Exercises For Ankle Pain

Weakness and loss of motor control are the enemies of lasting pain relief and resolution. If you have ever sprained your ankle in any significant way you will have suffered some loss of muscle tone and also motor control, hopefully just temporarily. The scary news is though, many of us still have measurable weakness in our ankles many years later after a bad sprain. The even scarier news is that joints with long term loss of strength and motor control can suffer terribly as a result of not having their natural support mechanisms in good health. The great news is though that it’s never too late to experience the benefits of improved muscle functions through carefully prescribed exercises.

Custom Orthotics For Ankle Pain

Most of us do not live in a natural environment for people, any more than animals in a zoo, we have more freedom to move around but our environment is just as unnatural. Concrete and paving slabs are hard and they are very flat, they impose unnatural foot positions upon us millions of times per year as we walk and run through our urban, residential and professional environments. Custom orthotics provide shock absorption and support that enable far more natural foot positions than we are able to achieve through modern footwear alone. Their ability to support the foot and ankle in this way can make orthotics and insoles an invaluable part of managing ankle pain in the long term.

Closing Thoughts 

Most of the people we care for ankle pain to don’t show up asking for treatment for ankle pain. Our typical ankle pain sufferer comes to us with some other primary complaint like shoulder pain and they mention in passing that they also have some ankle pain that they had assumed wasn’t treatable. Many of them had assumed that an ankle sprain had not healed properly and never would, others still knowing that there was some osteoarthritis in their ankle assumed the pain was untreatable. We generally look at ankle pain the way most look at dental pain, it’s just something to get on top of then get to work on preventing it from happening again. In terms of long term quality of life the rewards for taking this approach can be very significant.