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Why does an ankle sprain cause back pain?

Have you ever sprained your ankle, and noticed that your back began to hurt? Why does one lead to the other?

Sprains can take 6 weeks to 3 months to heal.  If you want to run before that time, you should wear a brace and be checked out by a physician or health care provider first.  

In addition to the actual sprain having to heal, injuries to the ankle also cause secondary problems as a result of being off your feet for so long and having pain.  You may have noticed that you begin to limp.   When you limp, your hip muscles get very weak, and so do your knee muscles and your calf muscles. You can also develop back pain.  

In addition, you balance will suffer and you will be more likely to re-sprain your ankle again when running.

What can you do to decrease your back pain from walking with a limp?

First, make sure you don't have a fracture, and get checked out by your physician or primary care provider.

Secondly, use the RICE (rest, ice elevation) formula in the short term immediately after you sprain your ankle.

Thirdly, Begin to do gentle range of motion exercises, for example drawing the alphabet with your foot. Add gentle strengthening of the knee, hip and core to reduce back pain when walking with a limp.

Fourth, when your physician clears you to use a brace and not be in a cast boot or on crutches make sure to gentle strengthening exercises of the foot. You can use surgical tubing or theraband for foot exercises. Biking for cardio conditioning is a good idea.

Fifth, once your strength and movement is a little better you can begin strengthening in weight on your bad foot. Add some balance exercises.

Of course you may want some guidance to help you recover sucessfully and get back to full time running.

  •  Great Blog!  I added a link your wonderful site on my page too!

  • Linnea Comstock PT

     Thanks Dr. Golob!  

  • sprained ankle 1

    spraned my ankle 3 weeks ago went to the e.r a day after it couse i thought i fractured it and the lady said it as nothing but a really bad sprain lol but why has the swelling not gone away yet?

    • LComstock

      You may have jammed some of the joints and seeing a physical therapist for joint mobilization should help.

  • dymin

    Thanks it’s been six weeks but I still have a little swelling should I begin to strengthen it

  • Marty

    seems no one is here but I slipped and twisted my ankle and now my back is hurting. I did this at work but do not want to go through all the crap of going to er and all that. Any suggestions?