How to Keep a Sprained Ankle from Becoming Chronic Instability

Being “brave” about ankle injuries could mean signing up for more painful incidents in the future, and an ankle joint that ends up showing signs of chronic instability. Instead of toughing it out, see your doctor anytime an ankle injury causes significant pain, and prevent long-term problems. 

At Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, Dr. Kyle Durfey and Dr. Brian Hiapo can help accurately diagnose your ankle injury, and provide treatment to get you back on your feet with no adverse long-lasting effects. We can also help with old injuries that cause chronic ankle pain and instability. 

The difference between strains and sprains

Every year, a million people visit the ER for ankle injuries. A staggering 25,000 Americans strain or sprain their ankles every day! The key to avoiding long-term issues and chronic ankle instability is knowing when to seek medical attention and following up as quickly as possible. 

A strain involves a muscle or tendon that runs past the joint. You’ll feel a burning pain or cramp when you pull one of these muscles or tendons, and you might get a cramp in your calf as well. Usually, strains are non-serious, unless you actually tear, rupture, and slip your tendon. Unless there’s a lot of swelling or bruising,  or you can’t bear any weight on your ankle, you should be able to self-treat with R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).

An ankle sprain is an overextension of the ligament that wraps around the ankle, A mild sprain just causes a small stretch which will usually repair itself easily with R.I.C.E. However, if you repeatedly sprain your ankle or get a moderate or severe sprain, it can be a different story. A partial or full ligament tear can mean intense pain, inability to put weight on the ankle, and even a loud pop if the ligament gives way completely.    

Treatment for ankle injuries

If the pain only lasts a moment, you can walk normally after 10-15 minutes, and there is no significant bruising or swelling, it’s probably a strain or a mild sprain. Swelling, redness, bruising and continued pain means you should see your doctor. 

Even if you have a completely torn ligament, quick action and full immobilization of the joint in a walking boot or cast can allow the joint to heal fully. At Arizona Foot and Ankle Medical Center, we can treat new and old ankle injuries using options like corticosteroid injections to reduce swelling and pain, amniotic stem cell injections to help speed healing, and arthroscopic surgery to repair damaged tendons or ligaments. 

If you have chronic pain in your ankle, or have suffered a new ankle injury, don’t delay. Contact our office at 602-536-5037, or book a consultation online today.

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