Ankle Pain Treatment
Ankle pain is quite a common foot complaint. There are two categories of ankle pain. The first is “acute” ankle pain. The second is “chronic” ankle pain.
- Acute ankle pain tends to result from an injury or trauma. One example of acute ankle injury is a sprained ankle. When an ankle is twisted during sports, running or athletics, it damages adjacent tissues and ligaments. Sprains are painful but typically heal by resting the foot for several weeks.
- Chronic ankle pain occurs over a long period. Depending upon the injury, pain is typically experienced in two areas on the ankle. When pain is felt on the inside of the ankle, it is called medial ankle pain. When pain is felt on the outside of the ankle, it is called lateral ankle pain. Typically, medial ankle pain occurs because of strain on the tendons and nerves within the ankle area. The pain is felt more acutely when bearing weight and becomes worse with activities such as walking or running. Sometimes sharp, radiating pain is experienced in the arch of the foot. This chronic condition is often caused by exercising too much and /or over-pronation.
Lateral ankle pain occurs on the outside of the ankle. The pain increases during walking or running. Distress is caused by pressure on the tendons and ligaments that provide structural integrity and optimum performance to your ankle. Long-term pain on the outside of your ankle can be caused by flawed foot dynamics such as over-pronation. To shed light on the problem, let’s look at the structure of the ankle.
Anatomy of the ankle joint
The ankle joint is comprised of three bones that are joined together by muscles, ligaments and tendons. The tibia is the stronger and larger of the two long bones beneath the knee. The fibula is the thinner bone and is located on the external side of the leg. These two bones are joined together at the ankle bone (the talus) by the ankle mortise, which consists of three moving joints. The tibial dome sits atop the mortise.
Articular cartilage is a smooth white tissue that covers the ends of bones in joints. The smooth cartilage allows for easy gliding of bone against bone with minimal friction. In the ankle, articular cartilage coats the end of the tibia, the dome of the talus and the bottom of the fibula. Cartilage allows the ankle to slide smoothly as powerful ankle ligaments contract and release for directional change. There are four ligaments in the ankle – three are on the outside and one, wide ligament is on the inside. Injury occurs more frequently in the outside ligaments.
Pronation and Supination
Pronation and supination are natural motions that take place as we walk. They both play important roles in the dynamics of our gait. Pronation (rolling in) works to absorb the force of each footfall. Supination (rolling out) works to propel us in a forward motion. It is unfortunate that many people have excessive pronation.
Over-pronation happens when the foot rolls in too deeply for too long. This doesn’t give the foot an opportunity to recuperate and transition into supination for forward propulsion. Over-pronation inhibits foot dynamics, placing undue force on the ligaments and joints in the ankle and foot.
Excessive pronation causes the talus bone to settle into an unnatural position in the joint. As time goes by, this imbalance creates early wearing away of the articular cartilage. You can see the same dynamics in tread on unbalanced tyres. Undue pressure in a small area will cause early erosion of that tread. Over pronation also exerts unnatural pressures on ligaments surrounding the ankle joint. This causes aches and pain.
Ankle Pain Treatment with orthotic insoles
An effective ankle pain treatment are orthotic shoe inserts alter the physics of the foot and ankle to correct biomechanics. This alteration eases foot and ankle pain by forcing a realignment of the lower leg, enhancing ankle stability. Over-pronation in the foot causes tendons and ligaments to stretch excessively on the inside of the ankle. It also causes a pinching of ligaments placed on the outer side of the ankle.
The Foot and Leg Clinic orthotics resolves the dilemma of over-pronation and restructures the physics of the lower leg. With this resolution of faulty foot dynamics, The Foot and Leg Clinic orthotics minimises excessive and unnatural friction on the ankle joint. Orthotics also allow ligament and tendon pressures to release.
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