I first sprained my left ankle ten months ago in late January 2017 while playing basketball. It was very painful at first and my ankle became very swollen. I went to get it checked by an orthopaedic doctor and X-rayed right after, and was told that my bones look completely fine, and I just needed to rest, elevate, ice it, and I should be completely fine within a few weeks. I was on crutches for about 2-3 weeks before slowly resuming easy physical activity like walking again, as my orthopaedic doctor had suggested. (he even told me that I could run and exercise like before, but I didn't). My ankle remained slightly swollen for the months thereafter (it never return to its original size), but for the most part, it wasn't painful anymore and I could walk normally again. (though I noticed that when I stand for too long, my left ankle/foot will hurt and I'll have to sit down)
Flash forward to August 2017: I was standing in line at Universal Studios (after a day of lots of walking and standing), and out of no where, I felt a sharp pain in my left ankle again. It hurt to walk/stand, so I ended up renting a wheelchair to use after that for the rest of the day. The next two weeks, I went to a highly-recommended acupuncture specialist in my area, and after the acupuncture sessions with her, my ankle felt better again and I could walk without pain again. She recommended me to buy cooling patches to put on my ankle for 6 hours a day, and buy an ankle sleeve to put on my left foot when I'm out walking. My foot felt fine for about a week after that, until I boarded a flight to Japan in mid-August. After I landed in Japan, my left ankle started hurting again (perhaps due to the summer humidity there, as well as being at such high altitude during the flight for hours).
My first month in Japan, I went to various doctors: acupuncture specialist, orthopedic/sports clinic, etc. I was told to wrap my ankle with a tape to support it while I'm out walking by the acupuncture specialist, and the orthopedic doctor told me to do foot stretching and toe-curling exercises and ice my ankle every night. I did this with little results. Then I tried rubbing a lavender essential oil on my several times a day, and that helped noticeably for about 3-4 weeks. Every time my ankle would hurt, I would rub the essential oil on it, and it would feel better. I was walking and standing normally with no pain for about 3 weeks (perhaps I walked too much), and then starting a few days ago, the pain returned - except this time, it's a different sensation - a kind of tingling feeling when I stand, walk, or even I'm just sitting or lying down in bed. I notice the occasional tingling sensation in my lower leg sometimes too. I'm not sure what is the problem is, and want to get it checked, but going to the doctor here in Japan is very expensive since I don't have insurance. Some internet articles suggested that I get an MRI scan to check what is wrong with my ankle in more detail, while other people have told me that it's not worth it.
Right now the pain is usually in my left foot, but sometimes there will be an occasional tingle in my lower leg or even left thigh. So far I've been trying to not walk as much as possible, but since I don't have a car here, I have to walk at least 2,000-3,000 steps a day to go to the store, buy food, etc.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I'm considering going to a doctor, but am at a loss what kind of doctor to try seeing this time. I'm worried they won't be able to truly help like the previous doctors I've seen, and am afraid of the very high consultation price that they won't name until after my check-up. (it's also difficult to understand what the doctors are saying in Japanese, so not sure if going would be very helpful)
Thank you very much!!
Hello Deb, Obviously it's impossible for me to make a definitive diagnosis, but clearly something more serious happened than anyone anticipated; that MRI would certainly be helpful in your case, but reading the scan is notoriously difficult.
If I was to speculate, dangerous, it sounds like the capsule, or one or more of the ligaments was sprained, and like a spring that has surpassed its elastic limit, no longer is giving the ankle the proper support that it needs; so an awkward, but often tiny movement allows one of the bones, usually in the ankle mortise or subtalar joints to subluxate again, and causes that very sharp pain when weight bearing and trying to walk.
It's changed your gait and so is now having a knock on affect up your leg. No back pain? The muscles on the side of your leg are having to work overtime to stabilise the ankle, something the ligaments should be doing, and so they are beginning to protest.
You've been doing all the right things; only you make no mention of daily exercises to mobilise the joint and strengthen those muscles. Are you doing something like that?
What you need is a doctor who specialises in sports injuries; either a chiropractor with a FICS post graduate qualifaction, or equivalent in the medical world.
Meantime also start doing the ankle exercises at the link below. That's the best I can suggest. Let me know how you get on.
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1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.
2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.
3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree.
Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.
4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.
He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.
5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.
6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.
7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.
8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.
9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.
10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.
11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.
12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.
13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback
since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he
has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments
he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?
And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.
Greetings, Dr B. You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.
Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.
You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.
The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.
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Issue #47: Life without medication/ Eight coloured foods
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