Sounds dramatic doesn’t it…but it could be true.
Sprains are tears to ligaments, the connective tissue that links bone to bone throughout the body. The severity of the sprain depends on how many ligament fibres are involved. Damage can range from a few torn fibres, to a complete rupture of the ligament. The most common ankle sprain involves the anterior talofibular ligament and/or the calcaneofibular ligament, which are located on the outside of the ankle.
The common ankle sprain usually occurs when the foot has rolled too far inwards in relation to the leg (inversion). As well as ligament damage, the muscles and tendons on the outside of the foot/ankle can also tear or over-stretch. If the ankle sprain is not treated and rehabilitated properly these damaged tissues will not repair properly, and may remain in an over-stretched state. This can cause instability of the ankle. Ankle/foot instability becomes a problem when we start to move.
Our movement comes from the lowest stable base closest to the ground, and for most of us this is our feet. Whenever we have our feet planted on the ground, their position and how we use them has an impact on every movement we make with the rest of our bodies. Therefore, if the ankle/foot is unstable our usual movement patterns (eg. standing up/walking/running) will start from an unstable base. The rest of the body will have to compensate in some way so that we are still able to function. Very soon this movement pattern, along with all the compensations will become the ‘new normal’ for your body. This can cause problems such as postural disturbance, stresses and strains, muscles that don’t activate properly, and balance issues.
So it could be that the back pain you’ve had for years was caused by the ankle sprain you had as a teen….something to think about! Oh and of course worth mentioning…physio can still help after all this time!