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4 Things to Know About Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are common injuries that usually resolve in a week or two with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Severe sprains, however, can be extremely painful and incapacitating, and if left untreated they can lead to long-term health problems. Here are four important things to know about ankle sprains.

1. There Are Different Degrees of Ankle Sprains

Doctors may assign one of three grades to an ankle sprain:

  • Grade 1: a minor sprain characterized by swelling and soreness. Usually, people with grade 1 ankle sprains can still walk on their affected leg.
  • Grade 2: this type of sprain occurs when an ankle ligament is partially torn. Pain, bruising, swelling, and ankle instability may occur, and it can be difficult to walk.
  • Grade 3: this is a severe sprain involving a full tear of an ankle ligament. People with this condition are typically unable to walk on their affected leg.

2. Severe Sprains Raise the Risk of Future Sprains

It’s true: having a severe ankle sprain increases your risk of another ankle sprain in the future. This is because damage to the supportive ligaments surrounding your ankle can leave them weak, which may make the ankle joint less stable even after the acute injury has healed. This means you’re more likely to twist or roll your ankle again.

3. Scar Tissue From Prior Sprains Can Lead to Discomfort

Scar tissue is part of the natural healing process. However, depending on where the scar tissue develops and how much is created, a recovered ankle joint could become stiff and uncomfortable. This is because scar tissue isn’t as elastic and pliable as other tissues, like tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules.

The good news is, treatments like massage and stretching can help prevent excessive scar tissue build-up and enhance a healing ankle’s range of motion.

4. Bad Ankle Sprains Affect More Than Just Your Ankle

Long after an ankle injury has healed, there may be scar tissue, ligament instability, muscle weakness, and decreased range of motion in the foot and ankle. These residual changes can affect the way joints and other tissues move or absorb force, and may lead to issues like knee, hip, and back pain.

Conclusion

IndyPain helps people recover from new or previous ankle sprains. Our multidisciplinary team offers a range of evidence-backed services that are always individualized to meet your needs—after all, nobody else has ankles quite like yours! We offer physical therapy, pain relieving medications, diagnostic imaging, or other interventions to help us understand the nature of your ankle injury and get you back on your feet. Call the Center for Pain Management today at 317-706-7246 to schedule an appointment if you live near Greenwood, Lafayette, and Indianapolis, IN.

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