An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments in the ankle, usually on the outside of the ankle. Ligaments are bands of tissue – like rubber bands – that connect one bone to another and bind the joints together. In the ankle joint, ligaments provide stability by limiting side-to-side movement.
Some ankle sprains are much worse than others. The severity of an ankle sprain depends on whether the ligament is stretched, partially torn, or completely torn, as well as on the number of ligaments involved. Ankle sprains are not the same as strains, which affect muscles rather than ligaments.
There are four key reasons why an ankle sprain should be promptly evaluated and treated by a foot and ankle surgeon:
• An untreated ankle sprain may lead to chronic ankle instability, a condition marked by persistent discomfort and a “giving way” of the ankle. Weakness in the leg may also develop.
• A more severe ankle injury may have occurred along with the sprain. This might include a serious bone fracture that, if left untreated, could lead to troubling complications.
• An ankle sprain may be accompanied by a foot injury that causes discomfort but has gone unnoticed thus far.
• Rehabilitation of a sprained ankle needs to begin right away. If rehabilitation is delayed, the injury may be less likely to heal properly.
When Is Surgery Needed?
In more severe cases, surgery may be required to adequately treat an ankle sprain. Surgery often involves repairing the damaged ligament or ligaments. Our physicians will select the surgical procedure best suited for your case based on the type and severity of your injury as well as your activity level.
After surgery, rehabilitation is extremely important. Completing your rehabilitation program is crucial to a successful outcome. Be sure to continue to see your foot and ankle surgeon during this period to ensure that your ankle heals properly and function is restored.
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