The Third Ligament

05 Oct

Like I mentioned earlier this week, I recently suffered an ankle sprain that has prevented me from running for almost two weeks now. At the recommendation of Tony and another friend, I made a trip to physical therapy this morning. It turns out that there is a new local law that allows patients to refer themselves to a physical therapist rather than going through a primary care physician, which allowed me to get an appointment rather quickly.

The ankle itself has healed quite a bit since Monday. My foot is still slightly bruised, and I get a twinge of pain occasionally when I take a bad step or put my shoe on too fast. The biggest problem is that it’s still swelling up some whenever I walk around too much, which gives the feeling that my whole foot is numb. I explained my symptoms to the therapist, who did a series of measurements comparing the flexibility and size of one of my ankles to the other. The range of motion of my injured ankle was down by as much as 30% in certain directions (that’s my estimate based on looking over her shoulder at the measurements). This isn’t terrible, considering that my “good” ankle is actually very flexible, but it helps establish a goal for the rehabilitation process.

She also felt my ankles up for a while to see where the sore spots were, and decided that I had stretched the posterior talofibular ligament. There are three ankle ligaments, shown in blue in the picture, and she proposed that the reason I was bruising more with this injury was that either I had never torn this particular ligament in previous ankle injuries, or I had reopened some scar tissue from previous injuries.

A lot of this is guesswork, but I feel like physical therapy is somehow more codified than, say, evaluating an ear, nose, or throat infection. The therapist prescribed an aggressive set of exercises, along with some biking and perhaps water running, and I’m going to go back in a week.

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Posted by on October 5, 2007 in No Easy Days


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