Sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries in the United States, affecting about 25,000 people daily. If you've joined these numbers and sprained your ankle, there are some important points we want to make about your recovery.
As our name implies — Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle Center — our team of highly skilled and experienced foot health experts, including Drs. Matthew Paden, Dustin Kruse, Thomas Ehlers, and Brett Sachs, has extensive experience helping people with sprained ankles.
In this month’s blog post, we’re focusing on how to recover strongly and quickly after spraining your ankle to avoid long-term complications.
Sprained ankle complications
The reason we’re focusing on recovery after a sprained ankle is because of the increased risk for long-term complications.
To review, when you sprain an ankle, you stretch or tear ligaments — the tissues that connect bone to bone.
There are three grades of sprained ankle:
- Grade 1 — you stretch the ligaments
- Grade 2 — there’s partial tearing in the ligaments
- Grade 3 — Full tears of ruptures in the ligaments
The more severe the sprain, the more at risk you are for chronic issues. In fact, up to 40% of people who sprain an ankle struggle with ankle pain, swelling, and instability for at least a year after the initial injury. Even worse, about 20% of people sustaining an acute ankle sprain develop chronic ankle instability.
Important tips for healing after a sprained ankle
To reduce your risks for long-term complications after a sprained ankle, take these steps:
Seek our help
The rates of long-term complications after sprained ankles are high because people often ignore the problem and grit their teeth through the injury without getting it properly diagnosed and treated.
If you have pain and swelling in your ankle, please visit us for an expert evaluation. If we find your ankle is sprained, we create a comprehensive treatment and recovery plan to keep your ankle healthy for the long term.
Engage in physical therapy
Physical therapy plays a valuable role in recovery. Physical therapists understand how to rehab ankle injuries to speed up your recovery and strengthen the ankle.
Another benefit of PT is that therapists will help push you if you’re hesitant and, as importantly, hold you back if you’re pushing too hard.
You will also get some “homework” from PT. We strongly recommend committing to performing these at-home exercises and stretches. The more you guide your ankle with targeted exercises during recovery, the faster you will recover.
Pay attention to your ankle
It’s essential to pay attention to your ankle during healing. It will tell you when to give it rest. We do our part to provide extra support for your injured ankle in the form of braces and orthotics, but it’s up to you to notice pain and swelling and immediately give the joint a rest (along with some ice and elevation).
If you suspect you’ve sprained your ankle and need treatment, contact one of our five Colorado offices in Arvada, Thornton, Wheat Ridge, Evergreen, or Granby. Or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment.