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Preventing Ankle Instability After a Severe Sprain

Preventing Ankle Instability After a Severe Sprain

Americans are no strangers to sprained ankles — about two million occur yearly, and ankle sprains account for one-quarter of sports injuries. Whether diving for a ball or stepping off a curb awkwardly, however you develop an acute ankle sprain, there’s a 1 in 5 chance you will struggle with chronic ankle instability.

At Neuhaus Foot and Ankle, our team of sports injury experts understands how a sprained ankle can cause a lifetime of instability in the joint. We’re here to help prevent that outcome.

Assessing the sprain

When you sprain an ankle, the ligaments in the joint stretch, sometimes to the point of tearing. There are different grades of ankle sprains, including:

The first step toward avoiding chronic problems after an ankle sprain is to have us fully assess the damage so we know what you’re up against. Once we grade the damage to your ligaments, we create an appropriate treatment plan.

Steps for avoiding chronic ankle instability

Our treatments for sprained ankles are not only designed to help you heal, but we also make avoiding chronic ankle instability a top priority.

In short, chronic ankle instability describes a joint with loose ligaments, rendering it weaker and more prone to recurrent sprains.

To avoid chronic ankle instability, we first determine the best immediate treatment for the acute sprain, which might include:

For significant ankle sprains, we may recommend surgery to repair and tighten the damaged ligaments.

Your adherence to our treatment plan is the most essential step to avoiding chronic ankle instability. While this ongoing problem can occur despite your best efforts, in most cases, chronic instability stems from not allowing the initial sprain to properly heal.

That means don’t push yourself too quickly after a sprain. Instead, take time to rest your ankle and engage in physical therapy. Furthermore, always wear the boot or use crutches if that's what we recommend.

Moving forward after a sprain

By following our treatment guidelines for your acute sprained ankle, you’re off to a great start. Moving forward, consider wearing a support brace on your ankle, using custom orthotics, and strengthening the joint through targeted ankle exercises.

If your sprain was significant, we may suggest trying activities that place less stress on your ankles. For example, playing basketball may not be a good idea in the future, but riding a bike is a great alternative.

If you’re worried about chronic ankle instability and you’d like to learn more, please contact one of our offices in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, Columbia, Pulaski, Hendersonville, or Lebanon, Tennessee, to schedule a consultation.

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