Outer Leg and Ankle Pain

Outer Leg and Ankle Pain

A patient walked into my office in 1991.  Pain was evident from the expression in his eyes.  He limped horribly despite the fact that he was using crutches … not a cane … but crutches. He told me he experienced severe pain in the outer half of his lower leg from just below the knee, all the way down to his ankle.  He’d been suffering for some time.  It was interfering with his life.

He described it as a severe pain that would “catch” and then cramp over a period of several seconds before it would let up enough for him to move again.  He’d been told it was sciatica and that the sciatica was so severe it radiated down to his ankle.  (But the sciatic nerve doesn’t even “live” there.)

Back then, I was still something of a novice in “the real world” of treating patients.  I’d only been licensed and practicing for two years.  But I’d acquired some special training already.

I performed my exam.  I ruled out sciatica within seconds!

What I found was a “peroneal nerve” that was irritated.

The peroneal nerve wraps around the top of the fibula … the small bone at the outside of the lower leg.  The bone attaches at the outside of the knee at the top and forms the bump at outside of the ankle on the lower end.  If the fibula has alignment discrepancies at the top joint, it can significantly irritate the peroneal nerve.

That nerve goes from just below the knee and down the outside of the leg all the way to the ankle.  “Ta Dah!!!” What a perfect match.

In my advanced training, I’d learned how to identify joint discrepancies at both ends of the fibula.  So I checked both ends and found discrepancies.

The correction was a simple matter of “clicking” the joints in a specific direction to relieve the irritating situation. I use an instrument called an “Activator” and a technique by the same name. (www.activator.com) I made one “click” at each end of the fibula.

My patient got up off the treatment table and reported that it felt a little better already.  He made an appointment for a follow up visit the following day, paid and was on his way.

Easing people’s pain is common for me as a chiropractor.  But the next day when this patient came back I was caught off guard.  He had no crutches.  He had no limp.  He moved fluidly and confidently. He told me that the pain hadn’t gotten better … it had completely disappeared, altogether.

And so it had.

In the two and a half decades since then, I’ve worked with hundreds of patients like him.  Not all were as dramatic as he was, but many were.  It’s hugely satisfying to help people like these.

Doctors tend to throw around a “sciatica” diagnosis with no scientific evidence to substantiate it.  In fact, surgery often follows the misdiagnosis and, of course, the surgery fails.  Statistically, low back surgery fails about 52% of the time … probably for this very reason.

If you have moderate to severe pain in the outer half of the lower leg, from the knee to the ankle, try the most obvious condition before you leap into dangerous drugs or back surgery.  Find an Advanced Proficiency Rated Activator chiropractor in your area.  Ask him or her to check your fibula.  The results can sometimes be awesome!