How to Keep a Sprained Ankle from Developing Chronic Instability

Ankle sprains are a pretty common injury. Normally, a sprained ankle heals well and doesn’t cause any long-term problems. Some cases, however, can lead to chronic instability. 

Properly treating your sprained ankle is the best way of preventing ankle instability. Dr. Christopher Clark of Premier Spine and Sports Medicine is a sports medicine specialist. Here’s what he recommends to our patients to prevent chronic ankle instability.

What is chronic instability?

Chronic instability is a condition that occurs when the ligaments in your ankle become weak and unstable, so the outer side of your ankle gives way easily.

The most common signs of chronic instability from a sprained ankle include:

Ankle instability can cause your ankle to suddenly give out, which can happen when your walking or even standing still. 

Repeated ankle sprains and chronic instability

The two main causes of chronic instability are repeated sprains and sprains that aren’t rehabilitated properly. A sprained ankle happens when you tear the ligaments on the outer side of your ankle joint. These ligaments need time to heal after a sprain occurs, but without proper care or if you use the ankle too much too soon, your ligaments don’t regain full strength and stability. This improper healing can increase your risk of spraining your ankle again because your connective tissue weakens.

The RICE method

You probably remember RICE from grade school. It stands for rest, ice, compression, elevation, and it’s often the first step for treating a sprained ankle.

Resting your ankle for a few days after spraining it prevents further damage. Ice helps with the pain and swelling. Compression involves wrapping your ankle with athletic tape or wrap. This stops you from moving your ankle while offering support while it heals. And lastly, elevation can help reduce swelling. 

Physical therapy

Once your ankle starts to heal, Dr. Clark examines it to determine if you’re ready for physical therapy. Although a sprained ankle doesn’t always need physical therapy, Dr. Clark often recommends it to help prevent chronic instability. Physical therapy includes a variety of exercises to improve your ankle’s flexibility and strength. 

If your sprained ankle doesn’t respond to physical therapy, Dr. Clark might recommend regenerative medicine to help your stretched or torn ankle ligaments to heal.

Get treatment to prevent chronic instability

The key to preventing chronic instability is to ensure that your damaged ligaments heal properly. If you sprain your ankle, come in right away to receive proper treatment, which can lower your risk for future sprains and other injuries.

Use our online booking tool to schedule your appointment with Dr. Clark, or call our office in Hagerstown, Maryland. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Knee Pain: PRP or Stem Cell Injections?

Knee injuries are among the most common joint injuries to get. Platelet-rich plasma therapy and stem cell injections are two cutting-edge treatments that are showing great promise in treating knee injuries. Read on to learn more.

Why Acupuncture Should be A Part of Your Wellness Routine

If staying healthy is a priority to you, you’re probably already focusing on diet, exercise, and controlling your weight. But have you considered using acupuncture? Read on to learn why it should be a part of your health and wellness routine.

Stay One Step Ahead of Arthritis

Arthritis can cause joints to ache and swell, making it difficult to get around or enjoy the activities you love. Find out what you can do to stay a step ahead of your diagnosis.

Sports Medicine: Keeping You at the Top of Your Game

Want to up your game? Or do you need pain relief and a recovery plan following a sports injury? Learn more about how sports medicine serves and supports you whether you’re trying to better your performance or get back on the field.