Dear Dr Nina: How can I accelerate recovery from ankle tendonitis?
Q I've had a sharp, burning pain in my ankle for a couple of months now, which comes and goes. My physio says it's ankle tendonitis and will take anything up to three months to recover. I'm over the three months now and it's still swollen and sore. What can I do to help it heal?
Dr Nina replies: When ankle pain occurs simple measures such as applying ice, raising the foot and taking over-the-counter painkillers may help. Wear good supportive shoes. Resting the ankle and attending for physiotherapy will often help in an ankle sprain. If your physiotherapist prescribes exercises it is essential that you do these to ensure good ankle rehabilitation.
A sprain occurs when the ligaments supporting the ankle are wrenched and stretched, usually as a result of injury. Once a sprain has occurred it is important that the ligaments heal well, and the ankle remains supported.
If a significant injury is missed or proper rehabilitation doesn't occur, you may end up furthering the strain or having an unstable ankle joint.
If you have persistent pain, then I would advise seeing your doctor. Your ankle can be assessed.
X-rays are not necessary for a simple sprain, but a MRI may be needed to define a more serious ligament injury.
There are things you can do to help prevent ankle tendon injury occurring. Ensure adequate stretching and strengthening before exercise. Don't bounce during stretches. Don't run on hard surfaces. Wear proper cushioned shoes for sport. Sports such as swimming, cycling and elliptic training all cause less ankle stress.