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Ankle prolotherapy

Prolotherapy and Prolozone Therapy can be great treatment options for ankle injuries that have struggled to heal on their own or with physiotherapy. This article will cover the following information:

  • Symptoms of ankle injuries.
  • Why ankle issues struggle to heal on their own.
  • Types of ankle injuries.
  • Causes of ankle injuries.
  • Research on prolotherapy for ankle pain.

Before we get into it, here is a video testimonial of Linda’s experience with our treatment for her ankle pain:

You can find more video reviews on our review page.

Symptoms

  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Pain
  • Popping and clicking
  • Arch cramping
  • Weakness and loss of strength
  • Ankle stiffness
  • Poor ankle movement

Why ankle injuries struggle to heal on their own

To understand how Prolotherapy works, it’s important to first understand the reasons why ankle injuries can struggle to heal:

  1. The obvious reason is the fact that it’s a joint that we have to bear our whole bodyweight on each walking step we take. So as quickly as the joint is attempting to heal overnight, it is likely that you may be reinjuring it the next morning as soon as you start walking on it again.
  2. Another reason is because ligaments have a poor blood supply. It’s the oxygen and nutrients in our blood that help an injury to heal.
  3. Weakness and misalignments in neighbouring structures can also prevent the ankle from healing. Typically, these structures would be the knee joint and small joints in the foot.
  4. If an injury is bad enough, it can cause a lot of inflammation to build up in the ankle. Too much inflammation can cause pressure within the joint. This can sometimes prevent the blood supply from getting into the area to stimulate the healing process.

A injury ankle that needs prolotherapy

 Types of ankle injuries

  • Tendinitis – inflammation of any one of the tendons surrounding the ankle. An example is the Achilles tendon.
  • Ligament and tendon tears – these can be partial or full tears.
  • Ankle arthritis – degeneration of the cartilage within the joint.
  • Navicular subluxation – a misalignment of the navicular bone that sits just underneath the ankle joint.
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome – compression of the tibial nerve.

Causes

Trauma: Ankle joints can experience many forms of trauma. The most common is an ‘inversion sprain’.

This occurs when you roll over on the outside of the ankle and overstretch the outer ligaments of the joint. It normally occurs when you strike your foot on some uneven ground that you didn’t realise was there, putting you off balance and taking your ankle by surprise.

Other forms of trauma include direct impact received during sporting activities such a football and hockey.

The treatment at our clinic can help ankle trauma by helping to stimulate the production of healing compounds at the site of the injury. These healing compounds are called fibroblasts, and help to proliferate the cells that the body needs to heal.

A football tackle with two ankles colliding

Poor foot biomechanics: An individual will complete 6000-10,000 steps a day on average. If each one of those steps are completed with poor foot biomechanics, then you can imagine that over time it’s going to start stressing out structures above the foot.

The foot was designed in a particular way to help the lower limb absorb force efficiently. If the foot can’t perform it’s job properly, then extra load is passed onto the ankle, knee, and hip.

Many of the ligaments around the ankle are small, so they only have a limited capacity to absorb force. Our treatment helps to thicken and strengthen these ligaments, so that they are able to support the foot and ankle during routine movements.

Arch instablity: The ankles biggest foundation is the arch of the foot. The health of the arch will dictate the health of the ankle.

Arch instability can be caused by two things: weak muscles or weak ligaments.

These weak muscles include the planter fascia muscles at the base of the foot, and the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg bone (tibia). Both of these muscles attach close to the arch and play a role in holding it up.

If the ligaments that attach in between the bones of the arch are weak, then it can lead to it collapsing.

The injections in the ankle can’t directly help weak muscles, but it can help the weak ligaments. There are simple muscle strengthening exercises that can be prescribed to compliment the effects of the injections.

Weak ligaments: Ligaments can be weak for several different reasons.

Previous injuries are one of the most common reasons. They can leave the fibres of a ligament in bad shape.

Even if a previous injury ‘seemed’ like it had resolved, and the pain had reduced, some of the fibres still may not have healed and realigned in an orderly fashion. This can often lead to mild instability in the ankle that most people are unaware of, leaving them vulnerable to experiencing another injury in the future.

Weak ligaments are also common in pregnant women.

During the third trimester, women release a hormone called ‘Relaxin’. It does what it says in the name and helps to relax the ligaments around the pelvis to allow for the birth of the baby during labour.

The problem is, Relaxin doesn’t just have an exclusive effect on the pelvic ligaments. It unfortunately also relaxes ligaments in other parts of the body, including the ankles and arches of the feet. The injections are safe to have during pregnancy. The low back is also a common area to be treated during this time due to the pressure caused by the weight of the baby.

A pregnant woman with ankle pain that needs prolotherapy

Another cause of weak ligaments is a condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. It is a group of connective tissue disorders that leads to a weakening of many structures in the body, including ligaments.

Our treatment can provide relief for individuals suffering from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Periodic maintenance treatment is required due to the nature of the condition.

Research

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4617485/

https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/pain/other/musculoskeletal/dextrose-prolotherapy-injections-chronic-ankle-pain

Interested in how much prolotherapy costs? Head over to our prices page.

To learn more about how prolotherapy works, head over to our page titled ‘what is prolotherapy.’

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