Pain above ankle from dorsiflexion - weak calves? Any views?

Discussion in 'Injuries and prevention' started by drissa, Jun 3, 2017.

  1. drissa

    drissa New Member

    Hi all

    I regularly get a sharp pain (followed by a few days of hobbling) from lunging back with my heel low - essentially, whenever my knee moves over my foot too quickly. Although I feel it in front of my ankle, the pain seems to be at the very base of (deep breath) the extensor digitorium longus, along the shin. See here -

    My 'martial art', although I'm sure it wouldn't qualify as one here, is capoeira. See the back foot of the main stance below -

    Squatting (lots of this in capoeira) is also an issue, for the same reasons.

    I'm starting to understand the role weak calves play in this, and other issues. A tight muscle can often be a weak muscle, etc. What I can't understand is why the pain would be felt in the front - this area is compressing, so why the stabbing pain?

    Can anyone offer thoughts or advice? Many thanks.
  2. Late for dinner

    Late for dinner Valued Member

    Welcome drissa!

    It's always a good thing to start at the beginning with the basics. Pain by itself can be confusing e.g. a heart attack will cause pain down the side of the arm.. If you go by pain location alone you can find can make getting better take a long time.

    I always like to get a ''lay of the land'' - how do things behave inthe area. Pain tells you one thing but mobility can be just as important. Do you have full ankle movement in all directions? If there is limitation is it because of stiffness or pain? Can you push it a little bit further? Does this cause a lasting increase in symptoms or just a momentary stretch pain? What happens to how you feel with different levels of load? You mentioned that the pain comes with lunging and squatting. Does it happen if you just slowly add weight to the foot (eg foot on a stool and lean forward)? Speed of loading can be as important as the amount of load. Lots of things to consider.

    So I would ask that you look more generally before deciding what to treat.

    You might also benefit from seeing someone locally (physician, physiotherapist, ? maybe even talk to your coach? ) who can actually check out whether what you perceive to be happening is actually what is happening. You would not believe the problems people DON'T see when they are sure that they know what is going on.

    Give that a go (looking at things more generally) and then perhaps come back if you still want to discuss your problems.

  3. drissa

    drissa New Member

    Thank for your support LFD.

    Dorsiflexion is quite limited. When I load that position (anything resembling a soleus stretch, with knee over toes) at speed, I get a stabbing pain. If this happens seriously enough, I'm limping for a few days afterwards. Slowly loading this position, e.g. deep squat, then pulling myself forward, is easier, but hits a point where I get the same twinge.

    I have quite high arches and my ankles tends to fall inwards a little. I gather this can also be caused by tight calves, giving limited ankle flexibility.

    The first physio suggested lots of massage around the ankle, deep glute strengthening, and stability work on one foot. The second suggested massage for tight extensors and calves. The third suggested the same issue, but recommended strengthening.

    Apologies for the salad of issues/interpretations. I imagine it's hard or impossible to advise remotely. I guess my main interest is to understand the biomechanics of this and why a stabbing pain (rather than any kind of pull or stretch) is felt in this position.

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