How to Prevent a Sprained Ankle From Becoming a Chronic Instability

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How to Prevent a Sprained Ankle From Becoming a Chronic Instability

How to Prevent a Sprained Ankle From Becoming a Chronic Instability

sprained ankle may seem like an isolated injury, but even a single incident could lead to a long-standing condition called chronic ankle instability, through which you’re at risk of further ankle injuries. You’ll feel as though your ankle might give out at any moment, making it hard to depend on your feet. You may have chronic discomfort, pain, or swelling. 

Typically, a sprained ankle takes between 2 and 12 weeks to heal with rest and conservative care, but sometimes that’s either not enough time or you need further treatment. Seeking specialized sprained ankle care with Hudson Valley Foot Associates helps by monitoring your ankle’s healing to help you sidestep the issues that lead to chronic instability. 

What happens when I sprain my ankle? 

Spraining your ankle damages the ligaments on the outside of your foot. These tough fibers hold bones together and limit the motion of the ankle joint. A sprain stretches the ligaments beyond their normal range. 

A sprain can happen during an intense moment of activity during a sport, falling, while walking on an uneven surface, or even simply when standing. Your foot rolls outward and stretches or tears ankle ligaments. 

Sprain treatment

For mild to moderate sprains, the RICE approach is the most common. Reviewing this method, it includes: 

  • Rest: avoiding activities that caused the sprain or cause further discomfort or swelling
  • Ice: using cold packs for 15 minutes every 3 hours in the days following the injury
  • Compression: wrap the ankle in an elastic bandage to reduce swelling
  • Elevate: raise your ankle above the level of your heart to encourage drainage

Manage pain using over-the-counter pain relievers. You may need crutches for mobility in the early stages of recovery. Once swelling subsides, you can start physical therapy to restore the ankle’s range of motion. Other exercises may be prescribed to strengthen support muscles. 

When instability begins

Typically, instability happens after you suffer additional ankle sprains, but it’s not always the case. Demanding too much of your ankle before it fully heals could prevent the ligaments from regaining strength. Skipping or rushing the recommended physical therapy is another way you can encourage ankle instability. 

How to prevent a sprained ankle from becoming a chronic instability

It’s likely clear already that adequate rest and proper attention to physical therapy are important parts of preventing chronic ankle instability. Returning to previous levels of activity slowly through your rehabilitation reduces the risk of taking on too much. 

Ankle braces can provide protection from additional sprains as you recover. Choosing supportive footwear with wide heels also reduces the risk of turning an ankle. 

When non-operative treatments don’t reduce ankle instability, there are surgical procedures to shorten or strengthen ankle ligaments to restore normal ankle function. 

With seven locations, there’s a convenient Hudson Valley Foot Associates office near you. Call or click to schedule an appointment if you have ankle instability, ankle sprain, or any other foot condition for which you need assistance. Expert injury management may make the difference for a smooth recovery. Book your consultation today.