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Ankle pain and limited ROM

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  • Ankle pain and limited ROM

    I've been meaning to post on here about this particular issue for a long time, but never quite got around to it and thought some of my self-management strategies would eventually help, but it doesn't seem to be working for me, so any advice y'all could offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Sometime in mid 2019, something happened to my right ankle that caused it to start hurting. I didn't twist anything or land on it weirdly or drop anything on it, it just started bothering me during squats in particular and really during any activity that required dorsiflexion. It has pretty much been a consistent issue with roughly the same pain levels since it first started. For example, it hurts at the bottom of a squat if I push my knees very far forward at all or at the bottom of a bent leg or even a straight leg calf raise. It also hurts when I actively dorsiflex my ankle just in mid air without any resistance. However, it only hurts during the active dorsiflexion if I try to maintain a neutral ankle position. If my ankle is in eversion as I dorsiflex it, it doesn't bother me. This might be secondary to the pain, but my ROM is also limited in a weird way on that same side. If I try to push my ankle into dorsiflexion whether in a calf raise or lunge or squat type movement, my left side can go forward just fine to the point that I will feel a stretch in my soleus at the end of the ROM. However, if I push my right ankle to its end ROM in dorsiflexion, I cannot push it as far even if it doesn't hurt that bad, and I can't even get it to the point that I feel a stretch in my soleus the same way. It feels almost like I'm somehow being mechanically blocked from moving that way. Also, I'm not sure if this is relevant, but my the arch of my right ankle also tends to collapse more easily during a squat than my left one.

    In terms of where I feel the pain, it's sort of right in front of the lateral malleolus. When I've been pushing into that pain a lot in training, the area will swell to varying degrees, and more recently it actually had some light bruising around there. Also more recently my peroneal muscles on that same leg have been bothering me. That's a relatively new symptom, but it seems to only flare up when I walk a lot more in a week than usual. It could be totally unrelated, but I thought it was worth mentioning since it's on the same side and fairly close to the same area.

    I've found a squat technique that is efficient and repeatable without a lot of ankle dorsiflexion and that doesn't hurt most of the time, but not being able to lean into dorsiflexion in that ankle makes some other movements very challenging when I can't make the same adjustments to technique that I can on a bilateral squat. My coach has had me warming up for comp squats with knees forward high bar squats as a way to try to progressively work on that ankle ROM, but the degree of pain hasn't really changed even after doing that for a couple of months. The only other movement I've been doing that challenges that ankle are bent knee calf raises, and like I said earlier, I can't push far into them, especially compared to the other ankle, before things start to hurt.

    Any thoughts on why this could be happening (if there even is a good reason), and what steps I need to take to rehab it back to the same ROM as my other ankle without being limited by pain would be very helpful.

    Thank you guys!

    -Perry
    Last edited by Perry Tate; 06-08-2022, 07:48 PM.
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