Have you ever rotated your ankle in a circular pattern and heard a popping sound? Some patients walk into the office being able to create the sound with every rotation of their ankle. This is because they are able to make their tendons snap against their ankle bone. This “hidden talent” is quite impressive at cocktail parties but in a podiatry office it is a big “no-no.”
The most likely cause of this is abnormal movement of the tendons. The tendons on the outside of the ankle (peroneal tendons) have a groove on the ankle bone that they move through. When a patient rotates their ankle in a circular pattern, they are able to make the tendon come out of the groove (subulxation) and snap across the ankle bone. The popping may seem painless to the patient, but more often than not this skill is gained by having past ankle sprains. When a patient suffers from chronic ankle sprains, the ligaments that hold the tendons into the groove weaken and are no longer able to perform their function. This allows space for the tendons to pop in and out of place. My mother always told me “too much of anything is bad.” This is true in the case of the popping peroneal tendons. If you strum the tendons across the bone too much, it may cause the tendon to tear which will result in pain and swelling.
If a patient develops symptoms of tears to the outside tendons then treatment is warranted. Some common symptoms of a tendon tear is increased swelling, pain, and pain when walking. At Advanced Podiatry we will utilize conservative methods before any surgical method is considered. A walking boot to immobilize the ankle will prevent the ligaments and tendons from moving out of place and will allow the area to heal. If this is a chronic problem (greater than 6 months), then we will consider platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP). PRP is used to change the chronic injury into a fresh injury. When the body detects the fresh injury, it will send nutrients and growth factors to heal the area of concern. The PRP will also help bring about healthy nutrients to aid in the healing process. This method is used frequently and has excellent results.
If you or a loved one suffer from popping ankles or any other ankle pain, please feel free to call and make an appointment to meet with one of our excellent doctors. Call 813-875-0555 today to get back to your active lifestyle.