Causes of and Treatment Options for Ankle Pain After Car Accidents

Car accidents are scary, inconvenient, and annoying to deal with. Even in a minor collision, what are the chances you walk away unscathed? 

Ankle pain after a car accident is common, but is ankle pain enough of a reason to visit a healthcare professional?


Ankle pain and ankle-related injuries are frequently treated by chiropractors following car accidents, and we want to help you.

Read on to learn:

  • What causes ankle pain after a car accident
  • The most common types of ankle injuries caused by car accidents
  • How chiropractors can treat your ankle injuries
  • And more

Table of Contents

ankle pain after car accident

Can You Injure Your Ankle in a Car Accident?

Ankle injuries might be more common than you think in a car accident. Although the safest and best position in a motor vehicle is upright with your feet on the floor, your feet still take on much of the impact in a car accident. 

A rear collision most often leads to ankle injuries, but any type of collision can leave you with ankle pain after a car accident. Things like …

  • Compartment syndrome
  • Joint and muscle sprains
  • Torn ligaments
  • Severe bruising and swelling
  • Ruptured tendons; or
  • Broken bones

… can all happen as a result of an accident. 

Have you experienced a car accident that left you with ankle pain? Our team of chiropractors at Cascade Spine & Injury Center can help.

ankle pain after car accident

What Causes Ankle Pain After Car Accidents?

You’re driving east on I-84 trying to get to Portland International Airport. You left with plenty of time, and you’re cruising along nicely. Suddenly, the interstate is at a dead stop. You slam your foot down on the brake to avoid a collision and stop just shy of the bumper in front of you. At the same time, you’re rear-ended by the driver behind you. Your foot slams into the floor on impact, and pain immediately shoots through your ankle and up your leg.

Ankle pain after a car accident typically happens when there is breaking or bracing with the legs. In an accident, there is often a “rebound phase” where your legs come off the floor with impact before slamming back down, causing pain and injury to your foot, ankle, or legs. Even without this impact, or in a minor car accident, ankles often hit other objects or surfaces inside the car during a collision.

4 Common Types of Injuries That Cause Ankle Pain After Car Accidents 

Ankle pain from a car accident might not be obvious right away. Bones may not be broken or sticking out, swelling and bruising have not yet developed, and you might even walk away from the scene. 

That doesn’t mean ankle pain won’t find you.

If you’re experiencing …

  • Pain while walking
  • Bruising
  • Swelling; or
  • Obvious signs of an ankle injury

… you could be suffering from an ankle injury.

The four most common ankle injuries caused by a car accident include:

  • Strains
  • Sprains
  • Fractures; and
  • Contusions
ankle pain after car accident

#1: Strains

Ankle strains occur when the muscles and/or the connecting tendons inside the ankle are stretched beyond their limit. Although ankle strains most commonly occur from overuse of the ankle or repeated hard landings or articulations, ankle strains can also be caused by a car accident.

Imagine you’re the driver of a car that’s been in an accident. Upon impact, your foot slips underneath the brake pedal and becomes stuck. The unnatural position causes the tendons connecting your muscles to your ankle bones to strain, resulting in severe pain and instability when you try to walk.

Common Symptoms of an Ankle Strain

If you’re experiencing …

  • Muscle cramps in your shins, calves, or feet
  • Pain and instability when walking
  • Pain with jumping or running; or
  • Mild to severe swelling or bruising

… you could be suffering from an ankle strain. 

#2: Sprains

An ankle sprain, sometimes confused with an ankle strain, is when there is more significant damage — to ligaments — in the ankle. 

Although sprains are often considered acute, they can quickly become chronic if not treated properly or if the same tissue is sprained repeatedly. 

To avoid turning an acute sprain into a chronic sprain, visit Cascade Spine & Injury Center. Sprains are the most common type of ankle injury treated by our team of chiropractors. Using a wide variety of methods, such as …

… our professionals can get you back on your feet and pain-free as quickly as possible.

Common Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain

More than 25,000 ankle sprains occur in the United States each day. How do you know if you’re suffering from this common injury? Here are some of the most common symptoms of an ankle sprain: 

  • Ankle stiffness
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Itching
  • Cold or numb in your foot
  • Pain with weight-bearing
  • Inability to walk
  • A “pop” during injury

#3: Fractures

Impact during a car accident is one of the most common causes of an ankle fracture.

Fractures can range from one simple, clean break to multiple fractures throughout the ankle. The ankle is made up of the …

  • Tibia
  • Fibula; and
  • Talus

… so many structures can be affected by an ankle fracture, causing different levels of pain and symptoms.

Common Symptoms of an Ankle Fracture

Common symptoms of a fractured ankle include:

  • Immediate and severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tender to touch
  • Pain when weight-bearing; or
  • Deformity of the ankle

Imaging is typically needed to diagnose an ankle fracture and set it apart from an ankle sprain or strain.

#4: Contusions

Ankle contusions, also known as foot bruises, occur when blood leaks from the blood vessels into the tissues of the skin, muscles, or bones of the foot. 

Although contusions can affect any part of the foot, they most commonly occur on the bottom of the foot during a car accident, causing pain to the ankle.

When a contusion affects bone and deep muscle, as it often does in the ankle, it can cause severe pain and take longer to heal.

Common Symptoms of a Contusion

Symptoms of contusions include:

  • Bruising that turns red, black and blue, purple, and greenish-yellow
  • Swelling; or
  • Tender to touch

How Cascade Spine & Injury Center Can Treat Your Ankle Pain After a Car Accident

Have you been in a car accident that’s causing ankle pain? Chiropractic may be just what you need.

Cascade Spine & Injury Center has successfully treated ankle injuries — and many other types of injuries types — for over a decade. In fact, our team of professional and skilled chiropractors treats many patients with ankle sprains and contusions caused by car accidents.

If you’re experiencing ankle pain after a car accident, it’s important to consult a professional healthcare provider right away to assess and treat your symptoms and minimize damage.

At Cascade Spine & Injury Center, we evaluate your condition and symptoms before determining a plan of care and beginning treatment. 

If you’re looking for a trusted auto accident chiropractor in Portland, you’ve found it.

ankle pain after car accident

Example of a Treatment Plan for a Foot Contusion

If you’re showing symptoms of an ankle contusion after evaluation, we will likely recommend a treatment plan that includes:

  • Rest, ice, and elevation
  • Ultrasound therapy; and
  • Modifying activities until healed

Example of a Treatment Plan for an Ankle Sprain

Treatment plans for ankle sprains look a lot like ankle contusion treatment plans, except our chiropractors would likely recommend adjustments and strengthening exercises after your ankle begins to heal. 

These help to properly heal the ankle and prevent future injuries to the same joints.

How Adjustments Help Heal Ankle Sprains and Prevent Future Injury 

As your ankle begins to heal, the inflammation caused by the injury can lead to scar tissue build-up, which may cause a limited range of motion after healing.

Through adjustments, professionals work to break up the scar tissue, freeing the bone and joints of any blockages that will affect proper movement in the future.

To help strengthen the ankle and prevent future injuries, we typically suggest working on balance and coordination with proprioceptive rehabilitation. This ensures the nerve signals sent from your ligaments are feeding the correct information back into the nervous system to help prevent another injury.

ankle pain after car accident

Contact Cascade Spine & Injury Center for Help With Your Ankle Pain After a Car Accident

While a little ankle pain after a car accident might seem like no big deal, neglecting to take the time to properly heal ankle injuries can lead to bigger issues in the future. 

If you’re experiencing any type of ankle pain after a car accident, seek care from the professionals at Cascade Spine & Injury.

With over a decade of experience successfully healing ankle injuries from auto accidents, our team of chiropractors is equipped with the tools and knowledge to help you.

We take our time listening to your concerns, symptoms, and goals and conduct a proper evaluation, so we can create a treatment plan designed specifically for you.

Contact us today to get started.

ankle pain after car accident

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