How to Keep a Sprained Ankle from Becoming Chronic Instability

If you’ve ever sprained your ankle, you already know that it can be incredibly painful. Maybe you twisted it while you were running or you injured it sliding into home base. Now your ankle is swollen and sore, and you might be a bit wobbly on your feet. Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries, with more than 25,000 occurring each year.

But a sprained ankle is about more than just temporary discomfort. If you don’t take care of it the right way, you could face a lifelong situation of having chronic instability in your ankles. This can lead to more pain and can even cause worse injuries. The doctors at San Diego Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center offer these suggestions for taking care of your ankles before worse problems set in. 

Try self-care options at home

Immediately after you get a sprained ankle, it’s important to do the right things. We recommend the R.I.C.E. approach, which stands for the following:

You can also use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Use only as directed and don’t take more than the recommended dose. 

Wear a brace to stabilize your ankle

A brace to stabilize your ankle can help prevent problems from getting worse while you’re healing. A brace is more than just the elastic bandage you initially use for wrapping your ankle. An ankle brace is semi-rigid and padded inside for your comfort, and it holds your ankle in a stable position.

Seek out physical therapy

Physical therapy is an excellent option for treating injuries such as a sprained ankle. The physical therapist will evaluate your ankle to make sure that any exercises and treatments you do are appropriate for you. Physical therapy can help to strengthen your ankle and the muscles and tendons in your leg, making further injury less likely to occur. 

See a sports medicine or orthopedic specialist

A sprained ankle isn’t just a minor injury that you can ignore in hopes that it will go away. After a sprained ankle, you’ll want to call us as soon as possible. When your ankle is extremely swollen and painful, especially if it’s not responding to home treatments, we’ll want to check your ankle to see how much weight you can bear.

We may do tests like X-rays or CT scans to look for any underlying fractures. In some cases, ankle instability cannot be treated with more conservative measures and surgery is required.

If you’ve sprained your ankle, it’s important to take care of it so that it doesn’t become chronically unstable. A chronically unstable ankle could cause further injuries and make you unable to do the activities that you enjoy. Call our San Diego office today at 619-343-3122 or request an appointment online

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