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How to Deal with Ankle Pain

Diagnose and treat a lifting related injury.

By Michael Camp, D.P.T., C.S.C.S.
How to Deal with Ankle Pain

WHAT YOU DID: While performing standing calf raises, you felt a pop in the front or back of your ankle joint.


WHAT YOU FEEL: Tenderness behind the bottom tip of the outer ankle bone. You may also feel a painful clicking sensation as the foot is twisted in and out.
 

THE DIAGNOSIS: Posterior impingement, the result of compression of the ankle.

THE TREATMENT:

1. Three-Cone Touch. (This example assumes the right ankle is injured.) Set up three cones or other objects on the floor—one in front of you, one to your right, and one behind you. Balancing on your right ankle, bend down, reach out, and touch each cone in turn.

2. Bulgarian Split Squat. Stand lunge-length in front of a bench. Bend the knee of your healthy leg and rest that foot on the bench behind you. Squat down until your rear knee nearly touches the floor. Make sure your knee stays aligned straight in front.

3. Band Ankle Ins-and-Outs. Attach a light band (such as a Theraband) to the affected ankle and tie the other end onto something sturdy that’s far enough away that you can apply resistance. Turn your ankle in, then out, then point your foot up. Do 20 reps, holding each position for four seconds.

PREVENTION: 

Make sure you perform calf exercises with good form. Slowing the tempo of your reps can help. 

Also, stretch your calves—walking, training, and sports can make them extra tight, so calves often need more attention than other areas when it comes to improving their flexibility.
 

CATCH IT EARLY: 

Injuring your ankle once tends to make it more vulnerable to the same injury in the future. Rehab it properly to keep it from becoming a chronic problem.

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