How to Keep a Sprained Ankle From Becoming Chronic Instability

If you have chronic ankle instability, the outer side of your ankle is vulnerable to rolling, twisting, strains, and sprains. Your ankle can give out suddenly, even if you’re just walking or standing.

The condition develops as a result of a sprained ankle that healed improperly. If you rush the healing process following injury, the ligaments never get a chance to regain their strength and function. If you have a sprained ankle, consult the experts at Washington Healthcare Center to learn the proper care cycle so you prevent long-term dysfunction and instability.

Causes of chronic ankle instability

A sprained ankle is an injury to the soft tissue of the joint. It happens when you twist, roll, or turn your ankle in an awkward way, stretching or even tearing the ligaments that connect your ankle bones together. Ankle sprains vary from mild to severe.

If you don’t allow this sprain to heal properly, it can lead to chronic instability. If you put too much weight on the ankle too soon after injury and test its range of motion before it’s ready, you risk re-straining or re-spraining the ankle and may suffer long-term instability. The ligaments just become weaker and weaker.

Symptoms of chronic ankle instability

Chronic ankle instability can be disabling and keep you from doing the activities you love. You may feel your ankle give way often, particularly when you’re playing sports or walking and running on uneven ground.

You may also have regular swelling and discomfort in the ankle. Your balance can also be affected due to wobbliness in the joint.

Proper healing

Ankle sprains are common, so it’s easy to treat them as a minor injury. At Washington Healthcare Center, we take your sprained ankle seriously — as should you. It’s important to give yourself adequate time to rehabilitate and rest the injured tissue.

Initial treatment protocol involves reducing swelling and immobilizing the joint. In phase two of recovery, we help you restore range of motion, strength, and flexibility with therapeutic exercises.

The last phase of your recovery is possibly the hardest. It involves a slow progression back to your normal activities. We monitor you as you add movements that don’t require turning or pivoting on the ankle. This means activities such as tennis or basketball are off-limits for a while.

With time and guidance, you can restore activity that involves sharp changes in direction. Our team at Washington Healthcare Center evaluates your range of motion throughout the healing process and the strength of the ligaments before recommending full activity levels.

Don’t rush the healing

Your job as a person with a sprained ankle is to be patient and not rush the healing process. A minor sprain can heal in as little as two weeks, but more severe sprains may need six to 12 weeks to heal.

You may be tempted to get moving the moment you feel a little better, but follow the advice of our experts at Washington Healthcare Center. Feeling better doesn’t mean your ligaments have fully healed. And even if you have a friend or teammate who recovered from a sprained ankle quickly, it doesn’t mean you will. Your physiology and the nature of your injury is unique to you.

If you suffered an ankle injury, no matter how minor it seems, consult our doctors at Washington Healthcare Center in Pasadena. You benefit from expert care during healing so you don’t rush recovery and risk long-term instability. Call our office or schedule an appointment today using our online system so we can evaluate and treat your injury. 

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