How to Keep an Ankle Sprain from Becoming a Chronic Instability

Ankle sprains can be painful and serious. From slight swelling and tenderness to full ligament tears, the after effects can be just as frustrating and painful as the injury. Instability in the ankle following a sprain can result in re-injury and long-term discomfort. 

Our team at City Podiatry specializes in caring for your feet and ankles. We address everything from athlete’s foot and bunions to severe injuries and chronic conditions, because we are passionate about keeping you on your feet. And when it comes to ankle sprains and strains, you can count on us to expertly guide you through the diagnostic, treatment, and rehabilitation processes, so you can have the best chance at a more stable life. 

Understanding your ankle

To understand your instability, you must first understand your ankle and how it works. Your ankle is made up of lots of bones, ligaments, and tendons. These all work together to keep your ankle stable and you upright. This delicate and complicated system unfortunately means that the ankle is extremely susceptible to injury and therefore chronic instability. 

Simple tendonitis (or gradual wearing down of the ankle) and injuries like sprains can damage the network of ligaments, bones, and tendons and result in a wobbly ankle. 

Instability results from a sprained ankle that has not healed completely or been properly rehabbed. The ligaments have been torn and stretched and need to be strengthened and rehabilitated. You and our City Podiatry team will determine the right treatment plan.

Understanding your treatment options

After determining the degree of your sprain, your activity level, and your needs, your doctor may suggest the following nonsurgical options:

Pain medication

An ankle sprain almost always means swelling and pain. Your doctor may prescribe NSAIDs like ibuprofen to manage any discomfort you have. 

Orthotics and/or braces

Your ankle has just gone through trauma and lost its support system. A brace or orthotic device can help to keep the ankle from spraining again and allow your ankle to regain the support and strength it’s lost. 

Physical therapy

Often, sprained ankles require targeted physical therapy intervention to rehabilitate, strengthen, and regain support and balance. Physical therapy includes stretches and exercises specific to your injury and activity. 

Treating a sprained ankle can be simple, but it is incredibly important that you follow all instructions from your doctor and complete all your at-home exercises. Remember: Instability can be lifelong, and it almost always results from improper rehabilitation. 

If your ankle does not respond to nonsurgical treatment and remains unstable, it may mean you need surgery. This typically means reconstruction of any damaged ligaments. Alert your doctor as soon as possible if you feel your ankle is not responding to the nonsurgical methods you’ve tried. 

If you are concerned about a current or past injury that has resulted in instability, it may be time to seek medical attention. Don’t wait until your ankle lapses into a chronic state of instability,  call today to make an appointment with one of our doctors at City Podiatry.  

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