Ankle Sprains and Low Back Pain

If anyone has ever played a sport or been active, they have probably suffered an ankle sprain.  What they might not know, however, is that the old ankle sprain may also be the cause of their lower back pain.  

Ankle sprains are an over stretching or rupture of the ligaments in the ankle.  Sprains vary in severity from grade 1 to grade 3+, with the later being the most severe sprain.  If the ankle takes on more force than it can handle, a fracture will occur.  The most common ligament to be injured in a lateral ankle sprain is the anterior talofibular ligament.  With a medial ankle sprain, the spring ligament is involved.

Typical healing rates of a sprained ankle are around 6-8 weeks depending on the severity.  Grade 1 and 2 sprains are usually the most painful as compared to grade 3 to 3+.  An ankle mobilizer is best to wear following moderate to severe sprains.  Though swelling is known  to impede healing rate, it is a necessary step for proper healing in the first 72 hours following a sprain.  Secondary to this, an anti-inflammatory medication should not be taken with in that time period.  Decreasing pain can be obtained through the use of ice or taking a mild over the counter pain medication.

Through the adaptation of the body, most symptoms disappear with in the typical healing period.  However, what individuals tend to develop following an ankle sprain is low back pain.  The reason for this is secondary to the non-physiological motion that happens throughout the ankle, leg and into the pelvis and lumbar spine.  As a physical therapist, I’ve traced many complaints of pain in other parts of the body to an old ankle sprain that was never treated or not treated properly. 

If you have experienced an ankle sprain in the past and have developed other issues after the healing period, it’s imperative to get an evaluation with a physical therapist.  However, not any PT will do though.  They must know osteoarticular manipulation and myofascial release techniques in order to return the body to proper biomechanics.  More importantly, they must also  be trained in cranial sacral work to return a cranial rhythm to the affected joints of the ankle, lower leg, pelvis and lumbar spine for proper healing to occur.

– Jason Marvin, PT is a licensed physical therapist, former competitive bodybuilder, competitive water skier, and FIT FACE Fellow. His unique manual approach to healing and holistic balance, and his use of osteopathic principles have helped thousands of athletes heal and reclaim their natural “mid-line”. He is specially trained in assessing and diagnosing lesions in the visceral, myofascial, vascular, neural, osteoarticular, and dural systems. Jason regularly competes at elite water ski tournaments throughout the country.