Burning Ankle

A couple of weeks ago, I was riding a difficult trail and my ankle got hurt.

I hit a bump or took a small drop and did not put enough downward pressure on the ball of my foot to protect my ankle. My foot bent upward torwards my shin and there was a burning sensation at the front of my ankle. I hit it like that about 3 more times during the ride.

I thought that the injury was caused by putting the foot too far back on the pedal, however ANY foot placement gets the same result on the smallest bumps. Even if I put my heel on the pedal, and hit a small bump, the pain comes back.

I stopped riding for a few days because my ankle was sore. There is no visible damage or swelling but if I took a stair wrong or put the foot in the wrong position the pain would come back.

Yesterday, I rode for .6 miles. At the very beginning of the ride, my toe hit the ground during a UPD and the pedal continue to rotate and push the calf forward - extending my foot downward (away from my shin) and it caused the same pain.

Today, I was getting ready to go ride, and in an attempt to run and get an important call, I put too much pressure on the foot and got the pain. Stretching the ankle (like in wrestling or martial arts) reduces the pain, however it doesn’t seem to want heal.

I am thinking about trying to ride hard again because my muscles are starting to grow weaker. The absense of excercise makes my old injurys like the dislocated knee start to burn.

  1. I am hoping that someone knows what this injury is called. I am currently calling it a "crushed ankle or ‘strained’ ankle.

  2. I am hoping someone can tell me how to heal it. Today, I am trying massage and stretching.

Have you considered going to a doctor? if it’s a genuine injury, then proper treatment is a necessity if you want to enjoy doing anything with your ankle, and not just unicycling.

If a doctor tells you that “it’s nothing, don’t worry about it” then that sort of piece of mind can go a long way and you can enjoy your uni.

Don’t mess with even a potential injury–it can only get worse if it needs attention.

Good luck,

A doctor who specializes in sports medicine/injuries might be much more knowledgeable in this area then a general practitioner. ChangingLINKS.com’s description, of how it happened and of the symptoms, is nicely detailed; a doctor with the correct knowledge may be able to diagnose it quite accurately.

FINALLY, someone who has the same injury as me!! I’ve been explaining this stupid ankle/top of foot thing to people for months and nobody seems to know what I’m on about.

The injury you describe is precisely what’s been happening to me, I’m afraid I can’t really help though.

I finally went to see a physio about it last week but I felt a bit stupid coz there was really no sign of an injury to show. The best the physio could come up with was that my calf muscles etc. are all quite tight so I should work on increasing their flexiblity (how good are you at touching your toes?).

This injury does seem to be getting better but I still feel it from time to time if a jar my ankle while riding uni or playing soccer (it’s happened both sides, left is more prone to it at the moment though).

My best guess is that doing flexibility and strength training in the entire foot region and not jarring it for as long as possible would cure it but I can’t stop riding hard for that long!

Let me know how you go, I’d advise asking a doc or maybe even a foot specialist about it ASAP because it doesn’t seem to be the sort of thing that goes away in a hurry (I don’t know how long I’ve been carrying it, at least 3 or 4 months).


I have gotten that exact same injury several times in the past. I even had the same sequence of first a hyperflexion and a couple of weeks later a hyperextension, both causing the same extreme burning followed by soreness.

It persisted for a few months but I kept riding and it eventually cleared up. I think it comes down to conditioning. While rehabbing from my knee injury, in addition to quad and hamstring work, I also built up my calves a little. Now when I ride on the balls of my feet, I can really use “ankling” for climbing, and my ankles don’t hyperflex on drops.

So, I think doing heavy toe raises and other calf work will really help you with the ankle folding problem.

The ankle hyperextension is going to be more of a freak occurance, and probably a stretching regimin will be the best defense.

Seeing a doctor is still good advice, but I thought I would give you some encouragement.


I deeply massaged the ankle last night, and stretched it a LOT.
I even tried “pulling my foot off.” Today, it feels a looooot better.

I don’t want to go to a doctor because with this type of injury, there is only so much they can say: Ice, Stretch, Strengthen, Heat, massage, rest.

I avoided going to a doctor for many years. Finally, a chiropractor convinced me to let him access me and ever since that day, I have an occasional need for a chiroprator and now wear inserts in my shoes. In other words, I know that if I want to be sick - I can go see a doctor, and they will convince me I’m sick.

I appreciate everyone’s input. While I wish that no one suffered from this injury, it is good to know someone else experienced it and it can “go away” with conditioning. Now, I can make it a point to ride light off-road for twenty miles and stretch to help strengthen and repair it.

I think the key will be to build muscle without injuring it again.
I guess I could stick to freeriding for awhile so there are no surprise bumps.


This sounds like a pinched or irritated nerve along with a slightly sprained tendon, but I could be wrong*. Owen has developed something of chroninc ankle problem due to over-ranging in the way you first described (toe bending up towards the shin). Rob, the guy that owns CATS gym where we ride trials, sees this kind of injury in young gymnasts, they over-range in that way when they land off of apparatus. We did what he recommended and got a lace-up ankle support. Owen has been wearing it whenever he rides for about 10 days and has not any further problems. You definitely want to stop irritating it because it can turn into bone spurs.



*I’m not that kind of a doctor

Maybe checkout <http://www.foot.com/>. They describe all sorts of strain/overuse injuries and have links for products that might help.

I get good results with Arnica and Trammel sp? creams or gels. You should be able to find them at a good drug store. Apply topically 3 or 4 times daily. Ice to relieve any swelling which only prolongs the healing process. And of course rest if you can and elevate the leg. Good luck with the healing, I’m three weeks into healing a broken toe and it’s not easy being active like we all are.

Re: Burning Ankle

ChangingLINKS.com” <ChangingLINKS.com@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> writes:

> I don’t want to go to a doctor because with this type of injury, there
> is only so much they can say: Ice, Stretch, Strengthen, Heat, massage,
> rest.

Or a sports medicine MD might detect a fracture of your talus bone
requiring other treatment (e.g. immobilization) if you want to avoid
chronic pain.

I’m not offering a diagnosis. I don’t know if your symptoms are
consistent with talar fracture. But I do know that hyperflexion of
the foot causes fractures of this bone, and this is the sort of thing
a sports medicine doctor (particularly one specializing in feet) can
rule out.