Recurrent Ankle Sprains

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What is an Ankle Sprain?

An ankle sprain occurs when there is a sudden rapid shift in ankle movement, causing the ankle to roll over with the foot twisted. The ankle can become inflamed and swollen, which likely indicates injury to the ankle ligaments. There would possibly be a strain or tear in the ligaments. Ankle sprains often happen when playing contact sports such as football or basketball.

What causes recurrent ankle sprains?

If the initial ankle sprain is not managed appropriately and allowed to heal completely, it could lead to chronic ligament laxity and chronic ankle instability. It can be hard for a patient to tell if the ankle has healed fully, as an ankle with ligamentous damage can still be highly functional with the support of overlying tendons. An early return to sporting activity without full recovery often leads to a repeated ankle sprain. Studies have shown that there is a high incidence of recurring ankle sprains within 3 months of the initial injury.

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How do I know if I’m prone to recurrent ankle sprains?

You will tend to feel unstable in your ankle and may find it difficult to walk on uneven ground or to wear high heels. You will also find it difficult to maintain balance during single leg standing. There is possibly a constant dull aching ankle pain that is more painful during exercise or intense activity. There may also be persistent stiffness, tenderness and swelling around the ankle area.

How can Podiatry help?

A Podiatrist will be able to assess the severity of the injury and determine the stability of the ankle joint. Based on the assessment, the Podiatrist will recommend the appropriate treatment regime, which includes supportive insoles, appropriate footwear and lacing techniques, ankle braces, rigid or sports taping. In The Sole Clinic, there is an added advantage of consulting with the Physiotherapist in tailoring an exercise programme designed to improve balance and muscles strength for greater ankle stability. It is important to seek treatment for an ankle sprain as early as possible to reduce the risk of recurrent injury.