Long distance running with old ankle sprain

by Desiree
(Montreal, Canada)


I sprained my left ankle 2 years ago and saw a chiropractor for this injury shortly thereafter. He performed an adjustment at the time and a few more over the course of a few months. I have since taken up long-distance running and struggle with hip pain and tightness (formerly the left hip, now the right hip with pain radiating through my left hamstring into my seat) that I believe originate from this old injury.

When I rotate the ankle counter clockwise, I get a single pop when toes point downwards. Counter-clockwise, a series of 2-3 pops (almost a crunch) around the same radial of rotation.

I have seen 2 osteopaths and a chiropractor but no improvement. Is it too late for me? Are there any other options I can pursue? What should I request / expect from a practitioner to improve the chance of effective treatment.

Thanks for your time and insight.

Hello Desiree,
This is a hard one, and the most obvious answer is the one you don't want to hear; find another sport.

The good news is that you make no mention of ankle pain; am I correct? Your ankle doesn't hurt when you run, or after an event? In which I would tentatively say to continue running, though perhaps mainly not on concrete or tar.

That buttock, hip and posterior thigh main may have absolutely nothing to do with your ankle injury; but then an uncorrected fixation in the ankle or foot may be crucial. So it's complex.

First and foremost, let's be sure that you don't have a tight sciatic nerve. Sitting in a common kitchen chair, straighten first the right leg parallel to the ground, and then the left leg. Is it much tighter?

Secondly, ask your chiropractor to check and see if you have a short leg. Or ask a family member to stand behind you and place their hands on the iliac crests, and see if they are nearly level. If so, a simple inexpensive lift in the shoe may make a huge difference. An erect xray of the pelvis helps.

Lastly, does that hip pain go into the groin? Lying on your back, and pulling your knee to the opposite shoulder, do you get groin pain?

You've certainly done the rounds, so seeing yet another practitioner may be a waste of your time and money. One thought though, is to see if you can locate a FICS trained chiropractor in your area. It's sports chiropractic. Ask your local association.

Alternatively, take up walking, swimming, gliding or trout fishing!

Good luck.

Dr B



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