Ankle ligament - worth an MRI scan?

Hi there,

I've had a persistent outer ankle injury for the last 6 months. It's not hugely painful - probably only 3/10 - but it restricts my movement and stiffens up after running, and I'm a little concerned that it hasn't gone away of its own accord.

Physios and chiropracters have said they think it's a ligament strain, but no amount of rest, strengthening, ice or massage seems to help. I'm taking part in the Brighton marathon in April so need to start ramping up my training, but don't want to risk a long-term damage.

I was wondering if it'd be a good idea to have an MRI scan, to determine exactly what the injury is, and therefore the best way of treating it. Does anyone have any experience of getting a scan privately?

Many thanks,



  • an MRI scan is only as good as the person interpreting it so unless yo have someone who can a) interpret it and b) act upon the interpretation then what's the point??

    I would think that you need to see someone more expert in sports medicine such as an orthopaedic surgeon with an interest in sports, or a specialist sports medic (they do exist) to get a more accurate diagnosis first and then they may suggest a scan to see what's going on.
  • Thanks FB, makes sense. Had no idea how frustrating such a niggling injury could be.
  • Hi Burtie.. I found your thread interesting so i hope you dont mind me replyingimage

    firstly... you said the physios and chiros you have seen have said its a ligament strain?  This is impossible as you cannot strain a ligament. 

    Did you actually go over on your ankle whist running?  If it is a SPRAIN!  Then as such time as passed i would definately advise having a treatment called Myo Fascial Release done to the surrounding tissues and get yourself on a wobble board or 1 leg balancing - close your eyes to enhance the proprioreceptor strength.

    also, when ever you head upstairs, a good thing to do is go up just using your toes - let the heel drop lower then push up onto the next stair. 

    You can also try some cross fibre frictions yourself to encorage blood and heat into the area to stimulate the healing process.  To do this, use your fore and middle finger together and rigoursly rub length ways acoss the lateral ligaments (directly below the lateral maleoli) which is the sticky outy ankle bone. Do this for about 5mins per day.

     Lastly, i would get on a bike or rower for the interim period as they are non impact exercises and will keep your legs and heart strong!

    Ankle problems are only problems when not looked after properly!  I was the physio for the Manchester Phoneix Ice Hockey Team and dealt with alot of ankle injuries!! Hope this helps!!


  • Thanks for the reply Stu, really appreciate the advice.

    I used the word strain pretty loosely - I can't remember specifically what they said about the ligament, on reflection it probably was sprain.

    I actually injured it playing tennis - I didn't go over on it, but just developed an aching afterwards and it's never really gone away, and gets worse

    Good suggestions in there - I've already been doing some balancing recently, and I've also been cycling quite a bit to prevent myself going completely to seed! I'll give the stair-walking and rubbing a try and let you know how I get on.

    Thanks again.

  • Hi burtie..

     If you didnt go  over on it and as you say, done playing tennis then maybe we could be looking at a tendinitis problem. possibly peroneal tendinitis. 

    In your original text you said ice wasnt helping, i suggest also trying a contrast bath which consists of submerging your foot/ankle in ice water for 5 minuties immediately followed by 5 minutes of hot water submersion.  Continue to swap the ice and heat for 20-30 mins... this will also speed up the healing process through vaso constriction/dilation of blood vessels. 

     Let me know how you get on!

  •  I would really appreciate if an expert on reading MRI images could reply to this reprt of an  MRI of my ankle- I twisted it 2 months ago and it is swollen and I cant put my weight on it.

    1.  " Focal area of T 2 weighted and Fat Sat hypertensity is seen in the peritendinous area of the flexor hallucis longus. The lesion is posterior to the telonavicular region"

    2. Localized fluid intensity around an intact flexor hallucis longus tendon at the level of the talo navicular region- focal tenosynovites likely"

    I did not get any treatment for three weeks after the injury- since it got really bad after that I had a cast put on for 5 weeks. It was removed just a few days ago but the the pain had gotten worse- more swelling than before the cast- so I had an MRI done. Please help me understand what I should do- as I live in a very backward area of the country. Thank you very much.

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