Why Ankle Sprains Are Worse Than You Might Think

by | Aug 16, 2017 | Sports Injuries

Sprained ankles are, almost certainly, the single most common acute lower extremity injury—if not the most common acute injury, period. Your ankles are an obvious weak point for the body.  Essentially the full weight of your entire body rests above. And your ankles are critically involved in virtually any and all types of locomotion, from ordinary walking to explosive push-offs and jumps.

Because they’re so common—especially among athletes—far too many people don’t realize how serious these injuries can truly be. “Oh, it’s just a sprain? Walk it off and try to go easy on it for a few days.” Unfortunately, this is usually bad advice.

Don't Just Walk off an Ankle Sprain

That’s not to say you can’t treat a minor sprain successfully at home. But in our experience, people tend to underestimate the damage and the long-term risks. That leads to insufficient treatment, returning too soon to activity, and in many cases re-injury or chronic complications. For example:

  • You might worsen an existing sprain by further tearing the affected ligament.
  • The sprain might be “covering” a more serious ankle fracture, which can become quite severe if you continue to walk on it.
  • Pain could become chronic.
  • The ligaments might not heal properly or fully, which not only makes re-injury more likely but can cause the joint itself to become loose, unstable, and wobbly.
  • Early onset, post-traumatic arthritis may develop in the ankle. This could potentially happen years after the initial injury but still many years or decades before “ordinary” osteoarthritis might be expected to emerge.

In case you missed it, the point is this: sprained ankles aren’t something you want to take chances with. A full examination, positive diagnosis, and treatment recommendations from a foot and ankle injury professional gives you the best opportunity to rebound quickly and stave off future problems. To get in touch with Dr. Tom Truong and the team at Kansas Foot Center, fill out one of our handy contact forms or call the Wichita office at (866) 222-5177.