Recently I suffered a grade 2 lateral ankle sprain from football. I have been seeing a physio for weeks and have got full ROM back, managed bruising and swelling but am suffering from sharp heel pains during any plantar flexion - limiting walking, preventing any exercise like calf raises, cleans, or running.
I can press through the ankle fine and have good stability with balance based exercises but cannot shake this sharp pain.
Physio says it’s weak calf muscles but I can’t see how that would cause a pain like this…
Ligaments are bastards. I’ve had ankle sprains where I’ve been in agony that seemed to completely heal in a 1 week or two, but I’ve also had ones that were almost painless at first to linger for 6 months
I’m currently dealing with similar to you with my wrist. Stability is great, strength is great, weight bearing gives me a massively sharp pain though. I’m trying to practice patience at the moment. Sometimes you just gotta wait it out.
If you’re concerned try to get an MRI to see exactly whats going on.
After receiving a proper diagnosis for your ankle sprain, there are several points to consider for optimal recovery:
*Remember that ligaments have a limited blood supply. In the first 10 days after injury, the initial inflammatory stage helps form scar tissue for structural repair. However, beyond that, the ligament cannot “tighten up.” Avoid suppressing inflammation too much if the inflammation doesn’t interfere with daily activities or sleep. In other words, think twice before icing your ankle sprain.
Curcumin is a great inflammatory mediator. It can help reduce unproductive inflammation and pain but allow productive inflammation to continue and aid in recovery.
*Ensure proper ankle alignment. Misalignment often contributes to the pain of a sprain by causing muscle spasms and straining injured ligaments. A physical therapist or chiropractor with Active Release Technique training can make a significant difference. You can find a provider here:
Another helpful approach is using light-banded distractions to create space and allow the ankle to realign on its own. Just remember to stick to non-painful ranges of motion and distraction. Here is a video to help you do it at home:
*Begin restoring isometric strength as soon as possible. Isometric contractions help stabilize the joint and encourage tissue remodeling. Interestingly, when all the muscles around a joint contract, they create a compressive force that makes space in the joint – similar to squeezing a tube of toothpaste.
*Remember that a sprain typically leaves a joint less stable structurally, requiring muscles to work harder for stability. Over time, this can lead to arthritis in a joint with hypermobility from lax ligaments. Prolotherapy, PRP, and bone marrow concentrate can be highly beneficial.
To learn more, check out the following resource, which includes a highly recommended book: Orthopedics 2.0:
Taking the proper steps early on can minimize many long-term issues that may arise from a severe ankle sprain.
Outside the ligaments, check and see if you are tight and/or tender in the muscles of the outside calf muscles (personals/fibularis muscles). Massage, heat, vibrate, etc.