The Southeastern Spine Institute

If you’ve experienced a twisted ankle, you’ve probably noticed that the way you walk or stand has also been affected. It’s not uncommon for a twisted ankle to cause problems in other parts of your body. For example, ankle pain affects back alignment or movement — to avoid hurting your ankle more, you overcompensate by relying on other muscles and tendons to carry your weight.

The average person walks between 3,000 and 10,000 steps per day, sometimes more. If your ankle has been injured, you’ll probably alter your gait. This ends up putting strain on bones, joints and muscles that are nowhere near your ankle. In this way, your ankle pain affects back muscles and causes pain.

Causes of Ankle Injuries

Ankle injuries are common because your ankle supports your entire body weight whenever you walk. A twisted ankle or sprained ankle can happen when you least expect it. Some possible causes include:

  • Playing sports
  • Jumping
  • Quickly changing of direction
  • Tripping or falling down stairs
  • Walking on an uneven surface
  • Wearing high heels

Whenever you lose your balance for any reason and your foot is placed at an abnormal angle, you may end up with a twisted ankle. After days or weeks of walking with an abnormal gait, your ankle pain affects back comfort as well.

Untreated Ankle Injuries and Back Pain

A twisted ankle may seem to be a minor injury. If you’re like other people, you may be tempted to ignore it. The pain may not be unbearable, so it seems more like an inconvenience than a serious problem. You may find that you can relieve some of the pain in your ankle by twisting or shifting your weight, causing other muscles to work too hard. When you do this, your ankle pain affects back, hip or knee stability and comfort.

You may limp, shift your weight awkwardly or rely on muscles you didn’t even know you had. The muscles in your back may become stiff or tight, or you might even feel like your spine is out of alignment. Walking awkwardly may even cause you to fall again, leading to another injury.

Treating a Twisted Ankle to Prevent Back Pain

Failure to treat ankle pain affects back health, maybe even on a long-term basis. To prevent future complications, don’t rely on your back to overcompensate for your injured ankle. Visit your spine physician if you’re being treated for back pain. Don’t let any other problems interfere with your current treatment. Seek a professional diagnosis before beginning home care to make sure your ankle isn’t broken or more severely injured than you think.

Once you get the all-clear from your doctor, you’ll most likely be instructed to use the approach known as RICE:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

An elastic bandage or ankle support brace can help stabilize your ankle. Once the swelling has gone down, physical therapy is an effective method of relieving pain from a twisted or sprained ankle. It can help improve joint mobility, reduce inflammation and improve the strength and stability of your ankle. By making sure your ankle heals, you can also protect your back from pain, discomfort and injury.