What are the Long Term Effects of Ankle Sprains?
Historically, ankle sprains have been grossly undertreated. This has resulted in long-term misery and disability and pain for many people. Every week in our office we have someone come in with ankle pain that has resulted from inadequate treatment of an ankle sprain that occurred years ago. Many people treat ankle sprains themselves just by staying off the foot, and using an Ace wrap. For most ankle sprains that are bad enough to cause pain and is grossly inadequate. The new standard of care for moderately severe ankle sprain is now about 2 weeks in a cast followed by about 6-8 weeks with a very restrictive brace and then 6-8 months with a less restrictive brace during at risk activities. The reason for this is because the ligaments can then be allowed time to heal in a shortened (normal) length.
With activity, even normal walking, the ankle ligaments are stretched and if they have been partially ruptured or completely torn, this activity of walking in the early stages of recovery creates a situation where the ankle ligaments become too loose and do not adequately support the joint. This may or may not be immediately painful. However, in the long run, the ankle joint starts to hurt because it is not functioning in a normal way. The ankle joint slips too far and is unstable. Sometimes, patients’ complaint of severe instability even have new sprains when walking on a flat surface or stepping on a pebble. Having your ankle sprain managed correctly and early will greatly increase your chance of not having long-term pain and discomfort from an ankle sprain.
If you already have an unstable ankle from a previous ankle sprain, there is still hope. Usually, these could be treated with a fairly minimally invasive surgery that can restore the ligamentous integrity of your ankle joint.
If you have sprained your ankle don’t put off seeking treatment. The longer you wait, the longer you’ll spend healing. Contact the Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic here in Pleasanton, Texas for more information or an appointment by calling (830) 569-3338 or using our online request form. Let us help you on the path of healing.