I have a lot of patients that tell me they’ve been playing a sport such as basketball or football recreationally for years but lately they keep twisting their ankle during the game. They become frusturated and afraid that they will have to give up the sport they love the most. They always ask, “Why does this keep happening?” Well, here is the answer…
Ankle sprains most commonly occur by an inward twisting of the foot causing over-stretching of the ligaments on the outside of the ankle joint. There are three main ligaments on the outside of the ankle, all oriented in different directions to prevent excessive motion at the ankle joint and therefore provide stability. These ligaments are also known as “proprioceptive” ligaments. Proprioception is the unconscious perception of spatial orientation by the body. In other words, these ligaments are able to alert you through your nervous system when you’re about to sprain your ankle so that you can correct your footing before it happens.
So what happens when you sprain your ankle? Well the ligaments become damaged and are unable to work properly. Therefore, you don’t have the proprioceptive ability that you did prior to the injury. These ligaments cannot send a warning signal anymore that you are about to sprain your ankle again. That’s when you sprain your ankle again, and again.
Once you sprain your ankle, the chance of recurring ankle sprains is really high unless you get it treated properly. So that’s the next step. How do you prevent them from happening again? First, you need a supportive ankle brace. Not the kind that looks like a sleeve and slips on. You need something that is going to provide support on the side of the ankle and prevent excessive motion. Next, physical therapy can help you strengthen the ligaments and retrain those proprioceptive properties that are so important. Finally, good shoes and custom orthotics are the foundation of providing support and stability.
Still not helping? Sometimes more advanced treatment options are needed such as prolotherapy, super pulse laser therapy or even surgery should be considered. So if you’re concerned about a recent ankle sprain or recurrance of ankle sprains, call Advanced Podiatry for the treatment you need today! Don’t let ankle injuries keep you off the field!