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Ankle Stiffness/ache - 4weeks/physios Etc. Advice?Ankle problem - stiffness/ache/ help!!


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#1 downunder runner

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 06:15 PM

hi there my fellow coolrunners,
I have not been on the forum for ages it seems - because I have not run properly for 4 weeks - the longest EVER for me in nearly 9  years of healthy running.

Here is my story - if you have advice - please give!  Over December/January I was in Canada - running on frozen ground and uneven ground. After 2 months of this I developed a sore tendon underneath my foot and the ankle was stiff and sore (inside and front)

Since being home for 4 weeks, I have had lots of improvement - no pain at all under foot and no sharp pain or swelling anywhere. But my ankle is still stiff and aches (at the front and bit on the side)  when I try to run - totally fine when walking.

When I do stretch for the calf trying to keep my heel on the ground, there is a marked difference in flexiblity between my two ankles and when in this position is when i feel the ache. I can bounce up and down on my toes - no problem!

I have been doing a fair bit of deep water running - would this make things worse ? I don't feel it is, but maybe I am putting pressure on the front of the ankle and this is where I feel stiffness the most.

anyway, hope all that description makes sense. Yes, I have been seeing a physio and think he is good, but still I am frustrated.

Sorry in advance for complaining - i know it could be worse!

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#2 sook54

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 07:34 PM

Why don't you ask your physio for description of what exactly s/he thinks is wrong, then post that here. It will help to find out if others have had similar experiences. If you're not happy with how it's progressing you should see a sports doctor.

#3 downunder runner

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 09:35 PM

I cannot really describe it any better - sorry. Physio knows it WAS orginally a TENDON problem from the uneven/hard surface that I was not use to. He has twisted it this way and that way, given ultra sound and stretches to do.

Just frustrating as I suppose I am used to injuries not hanging around for so long. I could run 5-10km without any pain, just that it would be stiff and ache - I can describe it as a loss of flexiblity and less of a range of movement in my ankle compared to the  other one.

#4 sunny1

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 10:15 PM

Sprained my ankle last year and it took about three months to recover. Just had to be very patient with it. I had loss of flexibility and range of movement just as you described. But I also had loss of sensation ... for example if I sat cross legged on the floor, with  the sprained ankle against the floor, it felt completely numb.

It is all ok now, and feeling strong when I run. Hope that is a little reassuring.

I know exactly how I did my injury, it was quite a sudden and severe inversion accompanied by a noise (that I hope I never hear again). However, other than icing, elevating, strapping and resting I had no treatment and didn't take the offending body part to a Doctor. Next time I will!!

#5 downunder runner

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 12:09 PM

thanks Sunny1 for your post -

I was suppose to trial my ankle today with a 1-2km run but I can feel it is not ready, so went for a swim instead. But it is really eating me  this injury and although I am trying VERY hard to stay fit with windtrainer/bike, deep water running (as hard as I can at times) and swimming, it is really not the same as my love of running.

Should I be concerned that it still aches after 4 weeks? Range of movement is still not the same as my other ankle when I bend from my knees, keeping my heel down. Other ways it is fine.

Anyone suggest a good sports doctor I can see in Melbourne? Even better if it is in the Eastern Suburbs.

Would an ultra sound pick up anything ? I have heard that X-rays are usually useless.

#6 brizza

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 12:31 PM

View Postdownunder runner, on Mar 10 2008, 01:09 PM, said:

thanks Sunny1 for your post -

I was suppose to trial my ankle today with a 1-2km run but I can feel it is not ready, so went for a swim instead. But it is really eating me  this injury and although I am trying VERY hard to stay fit with windtrainer/bike, deep water running (as hard as I can at times) and swimming, it is really not the same as my love of running.

Should I be concerned that it still aches after 4 weeks? Range of movement is still not the same as my other ankle when I bend from my knees, keeping my heel down. Other ways it is fine.

Anyone suggest a good sports doctor I can see in Melbourne? Even better if it is in the Eastern Suburbs.

Would an ultra sound pick up anything ? I have heard that X-rays are usually useless.
an mri shows up everything,an ultrasound will tell you stuff but are a bit ambiguous on fine detail,xrays are good for boney things and not much else really,sports doctors are like any practicioner,sometimes they are very good and so on,there are a few things which could be wrong with your ankle from your description and an mri is the way to go,sports physicians are not always able to prescribe them,go back to your gp and get him(her)on your case-briz

#7 Dom

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 01:56 PM

DISCLAIMER: I have no medical background

An MRI was the best thing for my ankle - after a couple of months of rest, injection and strength etc with no improvement, i went for the MRI. Turns out i had a 5.5cm tear to my Tib-Post tendon and surgery was needed. My physio still kicks himself that he didn't advise me to get a scan earlier

BTW - this isn't meant to scare you, just backing up Brizza in that an MRI revealed the issue at hand.

Edited by Dom, 10 March 2008 - 01:58 PM.


#8 downunder runner

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 02:35 PM

thanks Dom and  Brizza for the replies,
Dom - where is the Tib-Post Tendon?  And what kind of symptons did you have? Able to walk without pain? Jog with some  achy discomfort? These are my symptoms.  It has improved through massage of the tendons, eccentric stretches, icing etc.  But still feels 'different' and stiff in the front of ankle.

Yes, I do have a physio I have been seeing which I do like a lot and I have been doing what he suggests AND he has said he is NOT worried it is anything serious..and he said have a little jog on it today but like I said, I was scared to ...

steve, the footman, what do you think? I have read so many of your posts and respect your opinion as well.

Ahh..back to pool running again tomorrow...

#9 brizza

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 10:52 AM

View Postdownunder runner, on Mar 10 2008, 03:35 PM, said:

thanks Dom and  Brizza for the replies,
Dom - where is the Tib-Post Tendon?  And what kind of symptons did you have? Able to walk without pain? Jog with some  achy discomfort? These are my symptoms.  It has improved through massage of the tendons, eccentric stretches, icing etc.  But still feels 'different' and stiff in the front of ankle.

Yes, I do have a physio I have been seeing which I do like a lot and I have been doing what he suggests AND he has said he is NOT worried it is anything serious..and he said have a little jog on it today but like I said, I was scared to ...

steve, the footman, what do you think? I have read so many of your posts and respect your opinion as well.

Ahh..back to pool running again tomorrow...
hi down under,
the tib post tendon is the one under the skin behind the inside ankle bone,but it sounds as if that has settled and you are describing joint stiffness-is that pain or loss of range of movement,i come from scotland and remember sore ankle joints from running on frozen uneven ground,it did settle without treatment and i actually prevented it in future by wearing less stiff shoes so that my whole foot was allowed to be flexible and accomodate the uneven ground,the sensation came back many years later after a sprain where blood went into the joint and this took about six weeks to settle,i iced it for the first week or so then i got fed up and went back to  running on it(do as i say not as i do)-if this goes on much longer it's an mri for you

#10 downunder runner

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 05:36 PM

Thanks again brizza for your comments. Just back from the physio again. He explained in detail about how the tendon which runs from my back of calf down under the foot was strained under the conditions of frozen and uneven surface, and with rest and treatment that no longer hurts at all.

After a 10 min run today the top of my foot is still achy and stiff....stops completely when I walk. He explained this is related to the other tendon and is NOT serious - just the bones/tendons are rubbing together - bit of compensation happening. We are taking a step by step plan - first is to wear heel lifts when I run to take the pressure of this area  as it only aches when I do the push off - or running up hills - i.e. when my foot is more flexed.  

I can start to SLOWLY increase my runs by 5 mins every other day or so, starting at a HUGE 10 mins! And see how it goes...

I feel pretty confident it is NOT serious - but wow - makes me wonder just how much impact my feet got on that frozen land in Canada....... those Canadian running friends of mine must have amazing feet full of gel  or something!!

#11 downunder runner

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 06:37 AM

Foot a bit sore this morning near the ankle bone and a bit achy underneath - not too much. I can walk barefoot this morning without pain. Top of ankle feels a bit better...

This is going to be a long road back to running the way I used to (6 days a week, 80kms or so).

#12 brizza

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 07:33 AM

View Postdownunder runner, on Mar 12 2008, 07:37 AM, said:

Foot a bit sore this morning near the ankle bone and a bit achy underneath - not too much. I can walk barefoot this morning without pain. Top of ankle feels a bit better...

This is going to be a long road back to running the way I used to (6 days a week, 80kms or so).
are yopu taking nsaids,nurofen and the like,if your stomach is ok and you have no history of any stomach problems you can take 2 nurofen (400mgs) with a meal-usually dinner and 200mgs with the other meals,if you have just banged your foot around with vague non specific aches that should settle it much more quickly,you should wear your joggers all the time at work or if you are standing or walking and buy some off the shelf insoles,athletes foot usually has them-briz

#13 downunder runner

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 07:43 AM

Yeah thanks Brizza - I cannot take nurofen or the like. Yes, I have been wearing my runners for most of the day - just this morning when I first woke up and walked barefoot.

And yes, insoles - physio said that this would be the next step if the ache does not improve after my next run (to help support my arch while it continues to heal). Today and tomorrow I am wearing heel lifts as instructed.

thanks so so so much again for your concern and advice!

#14 Dom

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 08:35 AM

Brizza, answered the stuff about the tib-post far better than I could!

View Postdownunder runner, on Mar 12 2008, 06:37 AM, said:

This is going to be a long road back to running the way I used to (6 days a week, 80kms or so).

I hear ya - July 2007 = average of around 120km per week.
Last week 2 x 25m (yes that's metres) with my physio to see how i went. That's my first 50m in 7 months!

The way i look at it is that i could be pissed about how much fitness i've lost and how much weight i need to lose but that's pretty negative and glass half full. I prefer to think that it's exciting starting back, bit like you're learning to run again!

good luck with the recovery!

#15 downunder runner

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 01:38 PM

oh, Dom you are being so positive about your injury, it is almost inspirational !  I felt so excited to run 10 mins the other day!

Dom and Brizza, can you suggest any strengtening exercises for the post-tib Tendon? or other ones in general?  I am doing the calf raises (lowering of the calf I am told is the important part) but wanted to know if there are any others i can do.

Even though my fitness is decling a little, I find Deep Water running 3 times a week is building up strength and at least when I do intervals, I can breath away hard!!  funny to watch other swimmers looking at ME thinking 'what the heck is she doing?'.  I often swim for 15 mins, do intervals DWR for 30-40mins then another 15 mins swim.

thanks for keeping me company though all this guys,

#16 brizza

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 03:36 PM

hi down under,i wonder if you are doing the deep water running correctly,the movement is as if you are riding ahuge bike,big knee lift and the foot goes forward,the toes point down and a really strong pull back using the pointed toe to get the resistance from the water into the hamstrings,it's very hard work and you can feel a strong pull in your hammies and can get pretty breathless from the exertion,the calf exercises are actually for the achilles and the structure of the tib post tendon is very diferent,the best exercise is standing on one leg and pull up your arch on the inside of your foot,the tib post is a very strong muscle and has to wind thro a few tunnels and 'round corners which is why it gets irritated in some peolpe where it has to do more work due to local mechanics,in people with stiff arches it has a more propulsive role,in people with mobile arches it functions to hold up the arch to assist with supination which is why you do better with arch supports during recovery-briz

#17 Bellthorpe

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 03:47 PM

View Postsunny1, on Mar 7 2008, 10:15 PM, said:

I know exactly how I did my injury, it was quite a sudden and severe inversion accompanied by a noise (that I hope I never hear again).

Yes, the noise is not pleasant. I've had lots of sprains over the years, but the last time I heard such a noise was two years ago, when the tendon held, and it pulled the end clean off the bone!

#18 Dom

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 01:14 PM

View Postdownunder runner, on Mar 12 2008, 01:38 PM, said:

oh, Dom you are being so positive about your injury, it is almost inspirational !  I felt so excited to run 10 mins the other day!

Good stuff on the run.

It has been a bit up and down over those 7 months, but generally its been up. When the diagnois was finally made it felt like a weight had been lifted and that i wasn't being a sook. Its was more to do with the relief that i found out what it was, its fixable and i will be able to keep running. For me that proper first run around Mt Cootha is the motivation.


View Postdownunder runner, on Mar 12 2008, 01:38 PM, said:

Dom and Brizza, can you suggest any strengtening exercises for the post-tib Tendon?
Brizza's on it again!

View Postdownunder runner, on Mar 12 2008, 01:38 PM, said:

thanks for keeping me company though all this guys,

No worries. Keep on truckin!