Expert chiropractic adjustments to treat ankle pain and sports injuries in Los Gatos.

Our feet and ankles are at the foundation of the bones in our body. Ankle pain affects everything, from our first step out of bed, to walking, working, and playing. There are many different types of conditions that can cause ankle pain, however here are some of the common injuries we successfully treat at our Los Gatos sports chiropractic office:

  • Inversion ankle sprains
  • Eversion ankle sprains
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • High ankle sprain (syndesmosis injuries)
  • Shin splints
  • Ankle impingement problems
  • Osteoarthritis of the ankle
  • Peroneal tendon problems
  • Cuboid syndrome (Ballet Dancer Ankle Problem)
  • Ankle instability issues

Ankle Anatomy

The foot and ankle contain roughly twenty-five percent of the bones in your body. And those bones bear the full weight of your body when you are standing. The force on your feet and ankles when running is 3x – 3.5x your body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds that means your feet (especially the forefoot) are experiencing loads up to 525 pounds.

The fourteen bones in each of your ankles are each unique in shape and function. They are held together by a myriad of ligaments (ligaments connect bones to bones). The muscles and tendons (tendons attach muscles to bones) in your lower leg control your overall ankle movement and joint stability.

Common Ankle Injuries

The basis for most of the sports injuries involving the ankle that we treat involve either sprains (tearing) of ligaments, tendon inflammation (aka tendonitis) and other soft tissue injuries (myofascial adhesions). All of these type of injuries respond favorably to sports chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue work.

It is not unusual for our sports chiropractors to see a patient who has been modifying or avoiding their favorite sport due to pain for weeks or months, only to see them return to play without pain in just a few visits. As avid athletes ourselves, nothing makes us smile more than helping athletes get back to doing what they love!

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are quite a common injury among athletes and the general public. The medical literature reveals that ankle sprains may account for somewhere between 20% to 40% of all athletic injuries. An “inversion” ankle sprain is the most common type of ankle sprain and it happens when we roll over the outside of our foot.

Inversion ankle sprains comprise eighty-five percent of all ankle sprains. When the ankle rolls inward with quick, unexpected motion, it can lead to stretching (and sometimes tearing) of the lateral ankle ligaments. Most commonly stretching or tearing of the anterotalofibular (ATFL) and calcaneofibular (CFL) ligaments.

This tearing of the ankle ligaments is painful. It is also not uncommon to see moderate swelling and bruising in the ankle region after a sprain. Often missed is the strain put on the lateral ankle stabilizing muscles (peroneals or fibularis muscles). The muscles around the ankle can become inhibited from this strain similar to tripping of a breaker in an electrical panel.

This inhibition of the ankle muscles is easily tested for using applied kinesiology muscle testing in our Los Gatos office. The inhibition of those muscles will leave the patient feeling unstable at their ankle or like “I don’t feel like I can trust my ankle ever since I rolled it.” It is also not uncommon for us to see patients who have struggled with repeated chronic ankle sprains.

After identification, correction of the inhibited ankle stabilizing muscles is simple and painless to perform. Our expert sports chiropractor performs this treatment, usually only once and the results are lasting. The best news is that immediately after getting off the chiropractic table most patients notice less pain, more mobility, and an increased feeling of stability in their injured ankle.
Eversion ankle sprains are less common and they involve rolling the ankle outward. The ligaments on the inside of the ankle are either stretched or torn with this type of injury.

High ankle sprains, sometimes called syndesmotic ankle sprain (SAS), are usually caused by a planting and twisting motion of the foot/ankle. They involve the syndesmotic ligaments that attach to the tibia and fibula of the lower leg. It is the approximating by the syndesmosis of the tibia and fibula that creates the upper portion of the ankle mortise joint,

Ankle Instability and Impingement Issues

The ankle gains most of its stability from the dynamic stabilization of its integrated muscles. That is a fancy way of staying that muscles move bones, but more importantly muscles stabilize bones. When bones, and therefore joints, are properly stabilized they move freely, properly, and without pain.

Inhibited or imbalanced muscles and myofascial adhesions / scar tissue from past injury create abnormal movements patterns. These abnormal movement patterns increase friction on cartilage and tendons. This friction can show up as inflammation, pain, difficult movement, and otherwise limited function.

At Positive Motion Chiropractic in Los Gatos our chiropractors regularly see athletes complaining of ankle instability or ankle impingement issues. Many times the ankle instability issues have come about from chronic and repeated ankle sprains in sports like soccer or gymnastics. Impingement issues come about more insidiously, but many stem from a past injury or aberrant movement patterns.

Both ankle instability and ankle impingement respond well to testing ankle muscle function and then balancing out muscle inhibition pattern and working on cleaning up myofascial adhesions that have “locked in” faulty movement patterns. Within a few visits at Positive Motion Chiropractic we usually see dramatic improvement in patients pain levels and functional abilities. If we are not seeing such progress then we order appropriate x-rays or an MRI and/or get a consult with a local podiatrist (DPM) or orthopedist (MD).

Our Chiropractic Treatment Approach: So Much More Than Chiropractic Adjustments

Using expert chiropractic adjustments to make sure all the joints in the ankle are moving properly has rapid and lasting benefit. As sports chiropractors we are uniquely trained to treat joint and muscle injuries in the feet and ankles. In fact, fifty percent of our patients see our sports chiropractors for non-spinal related pain, like ankle sprains and Achilles tendonitis.

We couple our chiropractic adjustments of the ankle joints with specific soft tissue therapies designed to painlessly break down myofascial adhesions and scar tissue that can build up after injuries. These microscopic myofascial adhesions can be a cause of continued pain long after the initial injury. We utilize Graston technique and Fascial Distortion Model (FDM), two techniques used extensively with professional athletes, to get our patients back to running, jumping, and dancing without pain or limitations.

Are your feet or ankles hurting or causing you to limit your activities? If so, schedule an appointment today with our expert sports chiropractor to find relief and get back to doing what you love!