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Very old scar tissue around ankle

edited October 2013 in Foot/Ankle
Hi - I have scar tissue that is ~10 years old on my ankle from not taking care of sprains properly.  What can I do to break it up/get rid of it??  Thanks

image here:



  • Alex--
    Starting to work with it you'll begin to see changes.
    Working through full ranges of motion and hitting different corners within the system will help and improve the rom etc.
    Where it has been 10 yrs it may take a little time before you start to see change, but stick with it.
    I would recommend purchasing a voodoo band.

    With a systems approach you'll find what works best at different times as your are working through it.
    As tissue is unglued and sliding surfaces improve you will start to see improvements.
    Different aspects will be beneficial at different times during the process.

    Episode 352: Dealing With Old Junky Tissue
    Episode 334: Informed Freestyling Always

    Free Your Heel, Free Your Mind
    Ankle Positional Fault Fix: Jill Miller Style
    Episode 313: Improving Ankle Range, Super Friend Addition
    Episode 285: Sliding Surfaces; Ankle Range of Motion Case Study Part 1
    Episode 285: Sliding Surfaces; Ankle Range of Motion Case Study Part 2
    Episode 258: Ankle Mobility-Self Mulligan Technique

    Episode 204: Donnie Thompson, Strongest Powerlifter Ever, Cares About Your Swelling
    Episode 189: Rail Mobgression/Evironmental Opportunism + New Ankle Mob
    Episode 163: Knee/Ankle/Achilles Issues? Active Tack and Stretch
    Episode 124: Gotta take Care of Business: Don’t Let the Ankle Sprain Win
    Episode 69: Triple Extension Problems + Clown Ball Champion
  • Is voodoo flossing alone effective?  Most videos I see have a therapist moving the joint
  • Yes, you can use voodoo floss without a super friend.
    Have a super friend to assist can increase the effectiveness in some areas, but don't let this limit how you are starting to address an area or tissue. Getting started is key.
  • All of those were great for ankle rom work Kaitlin. Thanks. That saved me a lot of leg work hunting all that great stuff down.  I had a question for you.  If you perform squats and you seem to be able to keep form to just past the 90 degree mark but then have to lift your ankles, what may be the problem? I have been working tirelessly on my hips and everything downstream in order to keep my feet on the ground to reach the bottom of butt to ankle range.  its gotten a bit better but there is something that forces my heel off the ground.  I can sit at the bottom of a squat no weight on the ball of my feet just fine but that's not what I'm after.  My guess is ankle problems, due to massive a repeated sprains (soccer player).
  • What is your foot position when you squat?
    What is your ankle rom?
    Yes with massive repeated sprains  you may have items that need to be cleaned up.
    Are your heel cords tight?

  • Feet are straight and screwed in to the ground. butt is on, shoulders back and belly tight. Then i descend.  Ankle rom is hard to tell for myself. Dorsiflexion is about 30 degrees. Plantarflexion is about 60 degress from a neutral foot. I don't think I have tight heel cords I can put my achilles on a bar with body weight pressure and I dont come close to a pain cave.  Feels great to tack and floss all the way across the entire area.

    If I front squat or hold weight about 25 lbs. in front of me feet stay flat.  But when i left go of the weight i roll backward. Maybe its not ROM related. perhapse motor control.  Just another thought that I have tried exploring. Very lost unfortunately.
  • I had a similar problem. Can you do a pistol squat? I couldn't. I learned that I needed alot more adductor activation and use to squat properly. Once my external rotation/activation was sufficient, I found that I needed to use more strength in my adductors to keep it all tight. Stretching my calves behind the knee to the heel (soleus, not gastroc) and the anterior hip was huge forme also. My calf kept pulling my heel up and limited my hips and then my tight anterior hip wouldn't allow my pelvis to go into neutral when I was low (i had really bad butt wink) in order to rebalance or I'd just fall backwards. after lots of couch stretches, I can squat without falling back and I notice my torso doesn't get "thrown" forward but can stay upright.
  • Sounds like a similar problem. I can barley keep up straight while going into a squat.  Like you said torso gets thrown forward.  I can barley manage 30 seconds in a couch stretch with the left leg back.  With the right leg back its no problem.  And the falling back sounds exactly the same because without weight to balance myself it just roll back. Feels like I cant get my pelvis forward or my ankle to bend more to balance.  Ill have to work on the hips and calves like crazy.  I have done some, which I thought was enough but it sounds like you have experience with this. Thanks Ali
  • Do you have full ankle flexion?
    Do you have end range hip flexion? Chest to femur.
    If you can get into an ankle closed hip closed position you fall backward.
    If you can't get into the flexed shape there will always be a compromise.
    Daily  Rx August 21 addresses correcting this.
  • Any tips on how to voodoo floss my ankle myself?  Wrap it, then just flex and move in a circle for about 2 mins?  Anything else I should be doing?
  • Katlin, I have to really work to get chest to femur. Probably missing end of range hip flexion.  I think its junky ankles due to all the sprains but I couldn't tell you how much ankle flexion is missing.  How do I get to the Daily rx? pro?

  • Go to the episodes tab and go to Daily Rx drop down.
    Yes, for the Daily Rx you need to have a Pro membership.
    Junky ankle tissue:
    Episode 352: Dealing With Old Junky Tissue

  •  This is the video that REALLY made in difference in my hips flexion. It's frustratingly hard to do where it actually flows the way Jill does it but after a few months (twice a week or more) I could actually feel the benefit and see how it was working. I would recommend only doing this after your hips are warmed up. Maybe do some hip circles each direction making them larger and larger and them smaller and smaller on each side until the sockets are warm and then do this. You may need a strap (I use an old bike inner tube) if you can reach your foot. You know, if you look at the "half happy baby pose" it's the same as the forward squat hip opener that Kelly shows, just upside down.
  • Kaitlin - thanks for all your help!!!
  • Thanks Ali, Tried that out today and I cannot keep my shoulders near the mat while going across the body. Pulls the entire back off the mat to get my foot over. I think its my hips and not an ankle as this thread was following.:0) Thanks again
  • Which voodoo band is better for ankles and all around use.  That voodoo x band looks like it might not wrap as well as the black voodoo band.
  • Start with the Voodoo band.
    The Voodoo X band is more compression based.
  • Jgarc, you'll actually want your shoulder to come up and do rotate your spine too. The idea is to get the flow and movement smoother and farther at each direction change as you "trick" the central nervous system to allow your muscles and joints more flex/range than they are used to. When you pull your knee down to the floor into the half happy baby allow your opposite hip to raise up off the floor but keep your leg in a straight plane. Straighten your leg and put your hip back down- see how it pulls your half happy leg back up? Rocking back and forth like this first, (half happy leg up and down with hip rotation) is a good warmup and then begin to pull that leg across to the other side. Do it until you feel warm, loose, open, and also meditative in the flow. Don't push too far! Just go through the motions and feel it open your hip up. Test squat before and restest after flow. Does it help?
  • Ali, Its been doing great. Again thanks for the advice.
  • Sorry for bringing up an old post, this seemed on track to ask instead of starting a new post.

    My husband had an accident 7+ years ago and shattered his ankle. He has plates and screws, lots of crunching and pain. He just recently went back to the Dr. and was told he needs surgery to remove some screws and scrape some scar tissue out. Should I use the voodoo band before the surgery? Also, what kind of rehab would you suggest for after surgery?
  • If using voodoo floss does irritate it.
    Getting the hardware out will be good.
    I would look into having graston done on the incision to break up the scar tissue and stop the growth.
    Look into finding a PT that is an athlete it makes a difference.
    Where do you live?
    I may be able to put you in contact with someone.
  • I'm in the Dallas Ft. Worth area. I'm sure there are some good PT guys around here. 

    I will try the voodoo and see what happens and go from there until the surgery. 
  • I'm not sure in that area, but do some research beforehand.
    Ask other athletes about their experiences. The time spent will pay off.
  • edited June 2014
    Can this be described as junky tissue? I have this soft bulge that I just noticed now while reading this thread. I sprained my ankle pretty bad a couple of years ago and did not treat it properly back then and now following an x-ray I found out I have bonespurs in my ankle limiting ROM and causing the ankle to become swollen and me being unable to train (I am a football (soccer) player). It is also on my left foot but noticeably smaller. Is the voodoo floss band a good way to clear this or do I need to do something else? note on the picture I am a little red after the voodoo band session.

  • What caused the bone spurs?
    What is your running technique/mechanics like?
    Sounds like the same situation is developing on the left. Which leads me to believe it is a deviation in movement pattern.
    Need to look at running, walking movement patterns.
    Compression can help clear swelling.
    The redness following voodoo floss session is from increased blood flow to the area following the compression.
    A Marc Pro can help clear the fluid out of the area.
    You want to identify the cause of the situation so it can be addressed and the situation can get cleared up.
    If you don't address the cause it will continue to get worse.
  • I think the bone spurs came from an old injury that I didn´t treat properly..

    I thought I had good walking/ running technique, feet and arms moving straight but then I noticed when I am walking I externally rotate the heel in every step. I land on my right foot normally but before I lift the foot I externally rotate the heel. It´s like I´m screwing my feet into the ground, a little twisting motion in the heel... what is that all about??
  • The bone spurs are the result of a change in a movement pattern perhaps from your injury.
    You developed the bone spurs to protect something else that was happening.
    The twisting motion may be what caused the bone spurs to begin.
    This can get inflamed any time you are walking or running.
    Running do you strike mid foot or heel?
    This may be an impacting factor.
    Did the doctor give you any advice or treatment plan?

  • Just came back from the doctor and he said the reason for this twisting motion was to protect the ligament, I saw the x rays and there are clear bone spurs that need to be removed. He gave me a cortisone injection and I´ll be taking it easy for a few days and see if there is any change. If not then surgery is the only option.

    Need to take a better look at my running technique, gonna record it and see how it looks

    Thanks for all the info :)
  • The cortisone shot hits the symptom of the bone spur/pain, but doesn't address the cause of it.
    Following surgery address the improper movement patterns that caused twisting thus causing the bone spur.
    Correcting the movement pattern will resolve the issue from happening again.
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