Sudden frozen ankle when walking and running

by Andrea
(UK)

ankle mortise and subtalar joints.

ankle mortise and subtalar joints.

For as long as I can remember my ankle has occasionally frozen particularly when I am running or walking quickly or walking up and down stairs. Until recently this has only caused me to stumble slightly then the ankle is ok to walk on again within seconds. However a couple of days ago I was walking down a set of stone steps when my ankle 'froze' and I was completely unable to weight bear, resulting in me falling down the steps and grazing and bruising my knee and elbow.

The whole leg is now sore for obvious reasons but the ankle has frozen twice more today whilst just walking at a normal pace. I am a 33 year old female who is fairly active and healthy. I am a normal weight, have mild well controlled asthma and some mild allergies, hay fever, dogs, cats etc.

My mother has rheumatoid arthritis. I have recently taken up running at a beginner level (1 min run then 1 min walk ten times).

I have a GP appointment next week but would like to know whether to continue with the running training in the mean time, I'm also concerned about mum's arthritis being hereditary. Thank you.

Hello Andrea,
Clearly something is happening deep in your ankle; what's good in the past the jamming has relieved itself, of itself, without treatment; nevertheless it was a warning that there probably more to come.

I'm going to stick my neck out, because I can't be sure, but I think this is unrelated to your mother's rheumatoid; yes, it certainly does run in families, but this isn't typical. Do you have any swelling in your fingers, particularly the PIP joint? Google the term.

This is an aside, but there's an explosion of these autoimmune diseases in the Western world. No one is quite sure of the cause, there are probably several reasons, but I am of the opinion that our typical modern diet is largely to blame. Eat the way your grandmother did, and not the way your mother does, is my advice.

That means spending a lot more time at the green grocer, and avoiding the processed convenience food that is so tempting these days.

Also google the anti inflammatory diet, and read up on the omega 6/ omega 3 ratio; it's good stuff anyway, but greatly reduces the chances of suffering like your mother does.

Seeing this has been going on for so long, I'd recommend you ask your doctor for an x-ray of the ankle. It probably won't show anything unless you had a long forgotten sprain.

What is most probably happening is a subtle subluxation of the either the ankle mortise, or subtalar joints. It gives incredibly sharp stabs of pain deep in the ankle when walking.

Often that will reduce of itself, but I'd now start doing our alphabet ankle exercises on a daily basis. A light ankle guard just whilst out running might help.

These subluxations can usually be reduced very simply by a skilled chiropractor who works regularly with ankles and feet; look for someone with a FICS post graduate sports qualification. You may be in for an occasional but regular treatment, say once a month, perhaps two; a small price to pay for being able to walk and run; and prevent an inevitable knock on affect in your pelvis and lower back.

Good luck, I hope this helps.

Dr B


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