How to Prevent Chronic Joint Instability After a Severe Ankle Sprain

Jun 09, 2023
How to Prevent Chronic Joint Instability After a Severe Ankle Sprain
Joint instability is no fun, especially when it carries on and on. Thankfully, you can do a lot to lower your risk after a severe ankle sprain.

Ankle sprains are the most common sports injury, though you don’t have to play a sport to experience one. Virtually any activity that involves your ankle joints can make you vulnerable to an awkward twist that leads to injury, swelling, poor stability, and pain. 

While severe sprains can result in chronic joint instability, there are ways to lower your risk for long-term complications. 

At Mayfair Foot Care in Commack, New York, Drs. Edward BuroChristine Peterson, and Rosario Saccomanno diagnose and treat ankle sprains of all severities.

If you’re dealing with a severe ankle sprain, read on to learn how to lower your risk for chronic instability.

When severe sprains happen

Ankle sprains happen when you twist, turn, or roll your ankle unnaturally, harming ligaments in the joint. While a minor (grade 1) sprain causes only mild damage, a severe (grade 3) sprain causes a complete ligament tear. A severely sprained ankle can also cause a ligament to rupture.

An ankle sprain of any severity can happen when you:

  • Fall and land on your ankle
  • Land awkwardly after pivoting or jumping
  • Exercise on an uneven surface
  • Have your foot stepped or stomped on during a sport

Wearing poorly fitting or inappropriate shoes — especially when you engage in a sport — can also lead to a severe sprain. Any shoes that offer little support can make you more vulnerable to falls and wonky ankle positions.

Ankle instability after a sprain

Along with pain and swelling, ankle instability is among the most common symptoms of an ankle sprain. And the more severe your injury, the more likely ankle instability — meaning you can’t stand steadily on your feet — becomes. A particularly severe ankle sprain won’t allow you to put any weight on the affected foot at all.

Preventing chronic ankle instability 

A severe ankle sprain can lead to chronic ankle instability if you avoid treatment or move about too soon after your injury. The same factors may also fuel chronic ankle pain and arthritis.

You can prevent these complications, including chronic instability, by:

  • Seeking professional care soon after your injury
  • Resting the affected ankle sufficiently and as directed
  • Using an ankle brace, crutches, or knee bicycle as needed
  • Partaking in physical therapy once you’re a candidate

Although each case is unique, severe ankle sprains may require a cast-brace or short leg cast for 10-14 days. The most intense pain and swelling from your injury should diminish within a few days if you rest appropriately. 

You might also need surgery to repair the damaged ligament, which requires a recovery time of its own. 

Call Mayfair Foot Care or book an appointment through our website today to learn more about chronic ankle instability or get the sprained ankle care you need.