Ankle sprains are very common and many times, the severity of the injury is under estimated.
Primary restraints to ankle sprains include three ligamentous complexes, the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), calcaneofibular ligament (CFL), and the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL). Two of the three ligaments are often damaged and it is important to seek treatment following an ankle sprain, as residual symptoms can last 6 weeks to 18 months. Repetitive sprains have been linked to a higher risk of ankle instability, risk of reinjury, osteoarthritis, and articular degeneration of the ankle.
Initial treatment of a severe ankle sprain would be immobilization for 2-3 weeks. Functional rehabilitation is important after the early injury phase. This would include performing range of motion exercises to the ankle and hindfoot, concentric and eccentric muscle strengthening, and endurance training with particular attention to the muscles that run along the outside of the foot and ankle, known as the peroneals, and proprioceptive training.
To prevent recurrence, functional bracing or taping could be useful in someone with a history of multiple ankle sprains. Most athletes can be treated successful with rehabilitation and protective bracing. If there isn’t significant improvement or with severe tears, surgical treatment might be necessary.
Dr. Michelle Suh is an ABPM-certified podiatric physician
at Complete Foot and Ankle specializing in sports medicine, pediatrics, and trauma.
To make an appointment, call (201) 445-2288.
400 Route 17 South 201 Route 17 North
Ridgewood, NJ 07450 Rutherford, NJ 07070