Why Do I Keep Getting Ankle Sprains? The Lowdown on Chronic Ankle Sprains

Chronic ankle sprains, also known as ankle instability, are usually due to repetitive accidents or injuries to the ankle joint. This differs from an acute ankle sprain when only one injury occurs. I often get asked by my patients, Why does my ankle give way simply from walking? I answer by asking, How many times have you sprained your ankle and how often does it give out? The answers vary, but most often I hear a patient has had a minimum of 3 prior ankle injuries. Some patients tell me the ankle gives way once a week.

The ankle joint is a complex joint made up of Tibia, Fibula, and Talus bones and numerous ligaments. Chronic ankle sprains or instability occur when one or more of the ligaments are either ruptured or stretched to the point that the ankle continually subluxes or turns under.
When you meet with your foot and ankle specialists, he or she will perform a simple non-painful test called an anterior drawer sign. If the test is positive, you have damaged the ligament to the point where it no longer can do its job. An X-ray, diagnostic ultrasound, or MRI may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.

The next question we get usually get is, When can I return to my activities? This depends on the severity of the injury to the ligament. Treatment is RICE : Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Your podiatrist may strap the joint with tape in a certain position or place you in a brace or walking boot for a period of time.

If the ligament is completely ruptured, it will often need surgical repair.. The good news is if surgery is needed, the ankle will be difficult to injure again. After they heal, most patients will often say, My ankle feels so much stronger compared to the uninjured ankle.

The most important information is how to prevent an ankle injury. If an injury is due to trauma, like a fall at work or car accident, then there isnt much you can do to prevent it. If you are participating in sports or strenuous exercise, then your podiatrist can show you simple strapping techniques or fit you with a brace to wear in your athletic shoe that will help prevent an injury.

If you do injure your ankle, you should always have it checked by a podiatrist the same day it happens if at all possible. Many times fractures can occur and need immediate treatment. Most podiatrists have digital X-rays in their office and can get the results in 30 seconds. Treat any injury to the ankle as a serious issue to help prevent it from becoming a chronic problem.

If you suspect you have chronic instability of the ankle, contact Dr. Bowmans office at www.houstonfootspecialists.com or call 713-467-8886.

Category: Ankle Pain

Tags: ankle pain, Ankle Problems, ankle sprain, Ankle Surgery, Brace, Foot Ligaments