Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums Foot/Ankle Nerve Compression above the Ankle

Tagged: , , , ,

Viewing 8 reply threads
  • Author
    • #70596

      I inverted my ankle twice this season, once in April and once in mid-July, and bought an Active Ankle Volt so that I could make it through the end of the season in late October. The brace allowed me to dorsiflex and plantarflex the foot, while preventing me from inverting / everting my ankle. 

      The brace itself sat on top of my peroneus brevis, and pressed hard against my fibula. I believe that I compressed a nerve in the brevis. 
      I can move around fine, aside from lagging mobility problems caused by the inversions. Light physical activity, like chopping or stacking wood, doesn’t hurt. After a day of mundane movement, the leg feels alright, the injured area itself isn’t tender. If I play a tournament, however, or say, jump, the area on my ankle where I believe I compressed the nerve is nigh untouchable. I get no ‘pop’ out of the leg, so my strides are very uneven.
      The mobility of the ankle is pretty poor. It’s not so terrible that I can’t perform a bodyweight squat, but it does differ significantly from my right side. I’m hesitant to stretch too much because of my tertius area, which still feels weak from the previous sprains. All told, I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to do for a compressed nerve. Should I be completely off the leg, moving around somewhat, or can I start to challenge myself a little. 
      If you have any experience with nerve compression, please let me know!
    • #73232
      AvatarKatie Hemphill

      Hey Harrison,

      What symptoms specifically have hinted at nerve compression for you? Not saying its not the case, but we might be able to sleuth a little more accurately with a little more info on the symptoms. Any numbness or tingling in the foot? Sharp, pinching sensations? Radiating pain?
      One must wonder if the pressure of the brace simply set fire to some tendons on the outside of your ankle, as that could have totally happened. Try some lower leg smashes, focusing on the outside of the lower leg. (If those peroneals are stiff, the smashes can be nearly unbearable, so take them in doses and use a softer ball if necessary.)
      A good double ball smash for the outside of the lower leg is demonstrated in this Daily Rx, but you can find a bunch more easily if you just search through some of the older episodes with the right filters on.
      If feeding slack into the leg doesn’t work, and you have the means, get that nonsense diagnosed! You deserve some answers and solutions.
    • #73235


      I have one area in particular where the pain seems to emanate from, about the size of my thumb, shown here:

      You can see how junky that ankle is. There is a lot of weakness near the tertius, perpendicular to that skin fold. When I run or jump, the above area becomes very tender. A few plyometric motions reveals another painful area, shown here: http://minus.com/i/4wn3EJ0IGzA0 . This area is just to the left (right, in this reversed picture) of my achilles.

      Rolling out the area is unadulterated masochism.
    • #73239

      Have you seen a doctor about this situation?
      What are you doing to address the compressed nerve?
      Sounds like you have some work to do to improve the ankle rom.
      You may need to work with your hip as well.
      Free Your Heel, Free Your Mind
      Ankle Positional Fault Fix: Jill Miller Style
      Squat Quick Test: Is it your Ankles or Hips?
      There are several other ankle/hip mobs.
      Having a difference side to side can cause an issue. The differences need attention so there is not a difference side to side.
      Episode 352: Dealing With Old Junky Tissue
      You need to start working with the area. I would recommend starting with a softer ball than the lacrosse ball.
      The Yoga Tune Up balls are a great option Therapy Ball or Therapy Plus Ball are good options.

    • #73241


      I have had an X-ray and seen my GP. The X-ray was clean, and the GP said the leg issue would go away with time. I’m confident that my pain will subside, as it has recently, but I would like the leg to heal (heh) correctly. 
      I’ve been doing a lot of work rolling out the heel cords while compressed, uncompressed, distracted, etc. I did a few slow agility ladders today, and the leg felt OK, no better. I have some lingering soreness now, but nothing to write home about. 
      Do you have any idea what an appropriate level of movement might be?
    • #73242
      AvatarLuis Marquez


      Everything that Kaitlin said I agree with completely, but I would also think muscularly as well. Going off of your pix the pain is in the posterior compartment of your leg. Along with all the mobility work you are doing look into some anterior leg muscular work. Imbalances in the muscularity of the lower leg could cause some of your pain. Just a thought

      Hope it helps

    • #73247

      Hey Zach,

      Any suggestions for exercises? At the moment, I do single legged squats with the opposite leg held at NSEW positions, and some really light agility ladders. I don’t do too many calf raises because of the pain.
    • #73248
      AvatarLuis Marquez


      So you want to work on the muscles opposite of your calf and gastroc, your anterior tibialis. A “tib raise” is just the opposite of a calf raise. Instead of raising your heels, stand on the edge of a stair or something similar. Let your toes drop down and then raise them back up. You should get some good contractions on the anterior part of your shin. You should be able to do 3 sets of 20.

      You could also do something similar with bands. Hook a band to a grounded structure then hook around your foot. Sit on the floor, back up to gain tension and dorsiflex (flex towards you) your foot. The band givesd good tension in both ranges of flexions as well. Relax at plantarflexion and let the band stretch your ankle out as well.

      Hope that helps

    • #73260

      Dorsiflexion: Engaged.

      Thanks, Zach.
Viewing 8 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.