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Ankle pain and swelling for two months

I have weak ankles and hyperextended ligaments. About two months ago, in pe, I twisted my ankle. It was very severe and I remember a snapping sound or like a cracking feeling. I couldn't support myself at all and had to be carried to the office. I didn't have any health insurance at the time so I just wore my ankle brace and did the usual RICE. I went to the doctor about a month ago and they said i was fine. But now my ankle is constantly swollen and i have limited movement. It will also randomly give out on me. My ankle also now points slightly inward when I stand and walk and it is incredibly painful to move it towards the left. (my left ankle is sprained) It has about half the range of motion of my right ankle. I don't really have the money to back to the doctors unless I really need to. Any ideas about what is wrong?
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replied March 17th, 2013
Especially eHealthy

Sorry about your problems.

Unfortunately, without a thorough evaluation, it is not really possible to tell you exactly what is going on.

You state you twisted your ankle, but do not state what the exact mechanism of injury (MOI) was. Was it an inversion or eversion ankle sprain? Or, was it more of a hyper dorsiflexion or hyper plantarflexion injury? Or, did you have more of a twist about the midfoot (LisFranc injury)? Etc, etc, etc....

Usually, an orthopedic surgeon can tell what the injury consists of from the history alone (in about 80-90% of the time). Then, the examination (and maybe some imaging studies) is used to confirm what the surgeon thinks is going on.

A thorough examination can usually tell how significantly the tissues are damaged. In cases where there is some question, then an MRI can be obtained to look at the soft tissues, a CT scan for bony lesions, and/or a bone scan can look for inflammatory problems or chronic problems like stress reactions/fractures.

But, again, there are just so many things that can go wrong around the distal leg, the ankle, hindfoot, midfoot, and the great toe, that it is not even possible to hazzard a guess.

You might want to try some general ankle/leg/foot rehabilitation. You can work on regaining range of motion in the ankle and foot joints. You can then work on strengthening the muscles of the leg and foot. You might want to Google "TheraBand exercises for the ankle and foot". This will get you a whole bunch of links to videos and articles on ankle and foot rehab.

Once you are doing well on regaining ROM and strengthening, then you can work on balance, agility, and proprioception.

Recovery does not "just happen". It takes a lot of dedication, hard work, time, and determination. It is not uncommon for it to take a year to 18 months for recovery after a significant injury.

If you are indeed ligamentously lax, then you are going to need to get started into a program, where you can build up the muscles about your major joints, to stabilize and protect those joints from further injury. This will be a life long program, or at least for as long as you want to be active. This will take a thorough orthopedic evaluation, and maybe even some specialized testing, to make sure that you are not in the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome group of patients.

So, if you cannot see some improvement after a period of rehab, you should see an orthopedic surgeon, who is well versed in problems of patients with significantly lax ligaments about the joints.

Good luck.

Wishing you the best.
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