Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy. If you have just rolled or have ever rolled your ankle doing an aerobics class, like one of those fitness classes at the gym, this is a perfect video for you. In this video, I'm gonna talk about Martha and her journey after she rolled her ankle. We're gonna talk about why it is not as easy as it seems like it should be to recover from rolling your ankle and how to make sure you recover fully. That way you can get back to all the things that you love without that sense that your ankle is just not strong. So let's get into the story about Martha.
Martha did not actually like working out, not at all. She was completely against it. Until she got into her forties, when she realized that it was harder for her to lose weight and her knee pain was so bad that she knew she needed to do something to help herself out.
This was getting right past COVID. She wasn't really interested in going places, but she knew that she couldn't do it on her own. She knew that she needed help to stay motivated and to even know what to do. She found a small gym, so she felt much more comfortable in relation to COVID and just being around a bunch of people. In that small gym, they had aerobics classes and she was thinking that this was a great idea, because now she doesn't have to know how to work any of the equipment. She didn't have to feel self-conscious, there's other people there. So she thought that that would just be a very easy transition for her into this thing that she didn't really want to do anyway.
Martha hit it big. She was like, “I did my first couple classes and it was so much fun. You're doing a little bit of dancing. Sometimes they use steps. Sometimes they use weights, but it was light. And up to you and what you were doing.” After a couple weeks she noticed she lost one or two pounds, which had been a huge hurdle for her. So she was over the moon. She was finding friends, that were going and having the same troubles that she was.
Now she didn't feel alone. Basically she got bit by the fitness bug. She was all sold. As that happens, you start moving around faster, you start getting a little bit more, not dangerous, but daring. Then she tells me that she has the most catastrophic fall. She was like, “It was so embarrassing. I thought we were gonna go to the right. And then all of a sudden we went to the left. And I don't know what I did, but I tripped over my own two feet. Thankfully I did not fall. But I, I mean, I made it halfway across the room before I caught myself.” So she was like, ‘It was so embarrassing that I was not willing to even look at my ankle, even though it was throbbing. It was very, very uncomfortable. The instructor came over to make sure I was okay. I was too embarrassed. I just got out of there.”
When she got home, she noticed her ankle was the size of a grapefruit. She was so mortified. It turned black and blue. It was just not a pretty sight. So she iced it and elevated it, because that's what she found on the internet.
She had to take a week or two off from working out. She was devastated over it and still embarrassed about the whole debacle going across the whole room. When she finally felt like she was strong enough to go back to the gym, she noticed that her ankle just didn't feel right and her ankle was really bothering her. It just didn't feel stable when she was trying to walk.
She said, it just didn't feel normal. The swelling was mainly gone. The pain was gone when she was walking. She went and bought an ankle brace, that helped a little bit. But it still just didn't feel normal and stable. So she starts looking through the internet and she's like, I guess I need help but I don't know where. So she goes to her doctor.
The doctor says, “Yeah, you sprained it. It's fine, It's all healed now. You're good.” They actually say you're good to go. So they gave her a little bit of solace, but her ankles don't feel right. So she’s looking down at two options. Do I have to stop working out? Or do I have to change the type of workout that I'm doing? Or am I just done because this ankle does not feel right when I'm doing the class. And so she's having to hold back and she feels more awkward.
This had been her social circle and she really didn't want to give up on the friends and just feeling so confident because she was finally doing something and feeling really wonderful. So she ends up calling my clinic and we meet for our first session.
She gives me all the history that I need, which is a lot of the history that I just gave you. Sure enough she had an ankle sprain, she even came and told me about the knee problem that she had had. As I'm digging deeper into things that had happened, this wasn't really the first time she rolled her ankle. She just didn't remember it necessarily because it happened in high school and who remembers things in high school.
So that ankle had always been a little bit weaker than the other side anyway. That's the same side that the knee started bothering her. The knee had always been super painful and the ankle never bothered her. So she just didn't think of it as being an issue. Well, as we were doing the assessment, we figured out that the two are very linked and her knee and her ankle problem were very closely related. Specifically for why the ankle did not heal and did not feel right.
When you sprain your ankle they can get categorized. So a grade one is you basically just annoyed it, right? It got a little stretched, no big deal. You probably will never notice anything. Two is when you've really stretched it. Three is where there's a certain amount of tearing. It's the tearing of a ligament that you've stretched completely, then you're really gonna be very unstable. Now none of those things automatically mean you have to have surgery. It sort of depends on what your lifestyle is, how strong other things are and how uncomfortable things are for you when you're walking around and moving around.
That's kind of a basic overview of ankle sprain. What does that mean functionally for you, Somebody walking around and you just rolled your ankle? So if it's grade one, you just annoyed it. You probably will never have another issue again, It just got a little bit annoyed. You rolled it a little and you keep walking, you may or may not have gotten swollen, may not have been anything. Now when you get into something that bruises, there was at least a little bit of a tear, which means that ligament is no longer as stable as it was before. So not only is it a little bit stretched, it tore. So like if it was a piece of cloth, a bit of that has been torn and there some people say that it can re-adhese some people say no it never does.
Either way the long and the short is that, depends on what happens next on how stable your ankle feels later. So one of the good things about putting your foot in an ankle brace for a couple weeks is to approximate those two pieces of ligament to what was already torn. So if there is any ability for that tissue to re stiffen up and re-adhese that two weeks is the best time that's gonna happen. And so wearing an ankle brace for one or two weeks after an ankle sprain can really help with that process. It also helps reduce swelling and overall pain, because having your ankle wobble is just not comfortable. You kind of reiterate it every time you move your ankle side to side. That ankle brace really helps with that, helps keep it stable.
After that, now you're dealing with strength and now your body is not the same as it was. So things are gonna have to take over a little bit more work because that ligament is not in its original condition. Just from being injured, muscles got a little bit weak because they weren't doing their full job and relearning where your foot is in space is a big part of that. Rehab are things that need to happen afterwards because you'll notice that even as you're trying to lift your toes or point them, it doesn't feel the same as it did before.
If that's never addressed, it will never be the same as it was before. You really do have to be intentional about making your ankle feel and move the same way it did before. And to re-strengthen a lot of the tissues in your ankle, your foot, and even further up in your leg because you weren't walking the same way after an ankle sprain. You are resting more. You really do alter a lot of things when you can't put weight on that foot or can't walk normally, because you know, normally you get at least a little bit of a limp and that can affect everything all the way up to your low back.
That's really why sometimes with an ankle sprain, especially if it's something that went on for longer than two weeks and you're really uncomfortable for like four weeks, you've made those alterations for a long time now. Without being intentional about how to come back from that, you will have some residual something, because that's varied for everybody going forward, and if you're trying to do something dynamic, run, do an aerobics class, get back into fitness, making sure that you have your normal control of your ankle, your normal ankle range of motion and everything above it. Also being back to normal is very important, because if any of those things are off then you're just gonna compound that over time.
When I was talking with Martha, not only had she rolled her ankle in the past, so her ankle had never been as stable as it was on the other side. Now this is gonna be compounding that on top of the fact that knee. So your ankle affects how your knee is, your ankle should move in basically 360 degrees so does your hip. Depending on how your ankle is moving, it really affects the direction that your knee has to flex. Then your ankle rolls in and it makes your knee come in, it puts a lot of strain on the inside of your knee, which is where a lot of people get knee pain. So all of this plays together. I just got really technical and I apologize, but what happens to your ankle definitely affects your knee and it even can go all the way up to your hip. So as you're recovering from an ankle sprain, everything needs to be retrained.
You can't just look at your ankle. You'll be doing your whole body of disservice and especially to people who wanna live active lives. It is crucial that you look at the whole chain.
That's what I was talking with Martha about. Once we made our plan and we went forward, she is now back into her aerobic class because we were able to fully make a plan that worked for her to fully strengthen her ankle, make sure that she knew exactly where her foot was when she was walking, and make sure that she was stable. So if she had to do quick side to side motions, that she knew that her ankle wouldn't collapse out to the side.
She's able to wear her heels again, which was a big thing that she kind of held back for a really long time that she didn't wanna have to wear flats for the rest of her life. She also didn't like the fact that she thought she was gonna feel old. You know, 40 is like the time where you wake up injured and everybody doesn't like that.
She was very disheartened by the fact that she was doing something that was positive for her body, going to an aerobics class and then she ends up injured for several weeks and thought that that was gonna be the rest of it. So right now she's over the moon. She's back at her workouts. Her knee does not bother her, which was something she didn't think was ever gonna stop bothering her. Her ankle feels so strong. Now she's killing it back in her aerobics classes.
If this is the type of care that you're looking for, I have a couple options to offer you today. One is a discovery session. Not everybody watches a video and is gung-ho and thinks that this is exactly what they need. They'd prefer to have a time where they can come and meet somebody and talk to them and talk about their specific situation to make sure that the person they're gonna see is exactly the person that's gonna be able to help them. That is what my discovery session is. If you're not a hundred percent sure that, this is the type of service that's going to be able to get you to the goal that you're looking for. Let's just sit down and talk. We'll be able to answer your questions. We'll make sure we're a good fit and we'll move forward. Some people are a little looking for a little bit more detail.
And so that's where my full body diagnostic comes in. So if you have a joint that you want somebody to want to look at or maybe type of motion, maybe you're a runner, you're trying to get back in or you're trying to do an aerobics class and you're like, this thing always bothers me. What's wrong? Like, why can't I do this move? Then we can take a global look. It's not as detailed as an evaluation, because it's a little bit different. There's no hands on. This is just looking to see if there's something that I could, I could help you with and then what that would look like going forward. So that would be a little bit more detailed information about a specific thing that you have that you're looking for.
So if either one of those are great for you, click the button that's below that matches what is best for you. I hope that you're having a load of the day.
for more blog posts like this, check out these links below.
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WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald