Advice for Possible Chronic Ankle Instability and "Treatment"

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I need some advice on a possible case of Chronic Ankle Instability and treatement.

Some background info, about five years ago, I experienced this awful ankle sprain. I think it was somewhere between a Grade 2 and a Grade 3 ankle sprain, the reason why I'm not sure is that I never went to a doctor for this, my parents thought it was just another normal sprain that kids get while growing up. I'm only making a theory recalling how black and blue my whole ankle was. I was limping for quite a while and I didn't get treatment until about 3-4 hours after the initial trip. I was growing through some rough times back then and my mother seemed annoyed/disappointed that I got such a bad injury. I ended up not taking care of it properly. As soon as the bruising faded away, I started joining my class again for physical education, and well because I wasn't healed, I tripped and sprained my ankle again.

Since then, I've tripped and sprained my ankles time and time again. At first it was just one, but maybe it's because my other foot got tired the other one began to sprain. It began to affect how I walk (I tend to slide my feet and keep them close to the ground than picking them up when walking, shuffling my feet?) and I would just keep tripping. I concluded one day that this might be Chronic Ankle Instability because it just seemed to make sense, but I can't make that conclusion because a doctor never diagnosed me with it.

I never had a chance to go to a real doctor and consult them about this because my parents kept taking me to a Chinese Medical Practioners, who would apply herbal solutions and compresses to my ankles. My parents be

Most recently, my parents got this 'very reliable' Chinese doctor (who has apparently cured my mother's back problems) who would massage my ankles to push the tendons into the right place(?) or something like that. However, instead of my ankles, he was trying to fix my knees because that's where he said the problem lies (even though my knees have never hurt before). He would painfully massage my whole leg and massage it really hard to 'push the tendons', so hard that sometimes I really can't stand the pain. He would massage my ankles too (which I have both recently sprained again). Although I can say that he's helping me learn to walk properly (by picking up my feet when I walk), my ankle started to throb again. He says my weight has to do with why I sprain a lot (I'm 68kg, female) and tells my parents that I should exercise, so my parents are having me workout by swimming (even though my sprained ankle hasn't fully recovered, because it's for my recovery). 

I've never gone to a doctor or gotten a diagnosis, so if anyone with experience with ankle problems could offer any insight into whether this treatment would work. So far, my ankles have been aching and parts of my legs would age too when I walk sometimes. Kicking while swimming makes my ankle hurt more, but when I try to tell my parents and the doctor, he would say 'it's supposed to hurt'.

Advice would much be appreciated. 

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  • Posted

    Oh, and I also forgot to add that this doctor claims he can heal my ankle within a month of treatment (even though I've had this problem for over 5 years now). He also claims that drinking this herbal concoction that he could also cure my near-sightedness as long as I get used to not wearing glasses.

    You can see why I doubt this treatment a little...maybe...

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  • Posted

    Hi Azuraj, I'm sure that the Chinese doctor is somewhat helping your condition by massaging the tendons. Swimming is a great exercise for this problem so I would definitely keep on swimming. However, clearly, your condition is getting worse, and a visit to a doctor is way overdue. I would insist on getting an MRI and go from there. 

    Hope your condition gets better, let us know!

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  • Posted

    Hello azure

    I'm sorry about your pain.. I'm suffering similar condition from a year ago and till now didn't find solutions but recently i heard about that severe ankle sprains lead to misaligned bones and hence limited mobility which is the main cause of now I'm searching for chiropractor which is specialized in ankle manipulation can restore the ankle bones to its right adjustment.. He better may have federation international chiropractor and sportive injury (fics qualified)

    I recommend you to ask about this way... And i wish soon recovery for you and me also 😃

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  • Posted

    Hello Azura Jae,

    Sorry to hear about your 5 year experience in ankle 'hell'. So, let's take a deep breath and examine your situation.

    You are probably right in believing your untreated first sprain so many years ago has lead to your current chronic condition.

    I have no opinion on your Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor's treatment protocol. TCM has a good reputation, I believe, in treating acute and degenerative ailments like colds, heart conditions, and so on.

    If you would be so bold as to actually ask your TCM doctor how many ankle injuries like yours he has treated, and how many he has actually cured-- that would be instructive.

    But when, according to you, he told you (when using your ankle) it is 'supposed to hurt' all kinds of alarm bells went off in my mind. A reputable doctor would never imply such pain is okay or expected in a normal ankle.

    I assume you haven't seen a Western conventional medical doctor yet because your parents took control of your treatment (and perhaps they have the health insurance).

    You stated you 'recently' started seeing this TCM doctor. I'm not sure if that means weeks or months, but it would appear you are not getting any better under his care-- in fact you might be getting worse.

    Ideally you should seek treatment under an excellent foot and ankle doctor who can give you hope, and more importantly, a thorough diagnostic workup and treatment plan.

    Ankles are too precious to risk to improper treatment, and time is not on your side.

    Good luck to you.

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  • Posted

    First let me say Been there and done that! I fell one year ago this month. A pretty bad sprain, grade 3. Went to the ER got a cane and headed home because they said nothing was broken. 

    Two weeks later say a specialist and he went by the ER's Xray and from there another and another specialist. 

    To know fault of my own, no one would take X-rays. And the pain just got worse and worse.

    My advice to you is get to the very BEST specialist you have or go out of town for them and get those X-rays and an MRI Just like was stated below! Don't hesitate to do this.

    I ended up with 2 torn ligaments and it was a mess in that ankle. This needed much "cleaning" up. This was done November 13th.  I was in a splint for 2 weeks, NoN weight bearing and then in a cast for 2 weeks/ partial weight bearing and in 3 weeks I go in a air cast cast with a boot for another 3 weeks. 

    Not fun, not a fun recovery but it beats not being able to walk on your feet for long periods of time! 

    Good luck and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!


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