How to Keep a Sprained Ankle from Becoming Chronic Instability

When it comes to ankle injuries, most people have heard of ankle sprains, strains, tendinitis, and fractures, but often don’t know the difference. If you’ve twisted your ankle and it hurts, get it checked out by a doctor immediately. Repeated injuries can lead to prolonged pain and chronic ankle instability.

At Orthocenter, with offices in Red Bank, Morganville, Holmdel, and Marlboro Township, New Jersey, our team of highly experienced orthopedic surgeons and physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians thoroughly examines your injury. They provide an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment possible to allow you to heal as quickly as possible and avoid lingering injury and discomfort. 

What is a sprain?

Your knees, hips, and ankles are all parts of your body that have joints, where two bones come together. The tissue that connects one bone to another bone is called a ligament. In a sprain, one or more of your ligaments have been stretched or torn. In an ankle sprain, typically you’ve twisted your ankle past the normal range of motion, causing damage to the ligament(s).

Symptoms of an ankle sprain

The typical symptoms of an ankle sprain include:

It can be difficult to differentiate a sprain from a strain, fracture, or tendinitis without a visit to a doctor. If you have severe ankle pain, get it checked out and properly treated, or it could lead to chronic ankle instability. 

What is chronic ankle instability?

Chronic ankle instability is a condition in which your ankle frequently gives out, while you’re moving or even while you’re just standing still. It’s estimated that 20% of people who have acute ankle sprains eventually develop chronic instability. 

Typical symptoms of chronic ankle instability include frequent ankle turning, persistent pain and swelling, and a wobbly feeling in the ankle. This can make it difficult to balance on uneven surfaces, especially while being active, and can have a major impact on athletic endeavors and just general mobility.

How can I prevent chronic instability?

Chronic ankle instability is usually caused by repeated ankle sprains that haven’t healed correctly. The repeated damage weakens the ligaments, which aren’t able to hold the ankle in place. This results in frequent rolling of the ankle, which can lead to further sprains.

The most important thing you can do to prevent ankle instability is to get checked out by a doctor when you’ve hurt your ankle. At Orthocenter, our highly skilled doctors examine you and diagnose your injury. In addition to providing treatments to address your symptoms, they develop a plan for strengthening and healing your ankle to prevent future instability.  

When you’ve twisted your ankle going down the stairs, playing a sport, or moving on uneven surfaces, you may think a few days of rest should be enough to heal. However, it’s important to get your ankle checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Proper diagnosis and treatment are essential to ensure your ankle heals correctly.

To set up an appointment at one of our four Orthocenter locations, call us or use our online booking tool today!

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