Recurrent ankle sprains
Our ankle joint is remarkable, helping us to move, walk, run and stand. In fact, our ankle is involved in some way nearly every time we move. This means that any problem with the ankle can cause us quite a lot of difficulty moving and going about our daily activities.
Ankle sprains are very common and many of us will have experienced the pain, discomfort and swelling that tends to follow a sprain. Keen sportspeople are particularly prone to ankle sprains, and many athletes (at all levels) frequently come to me for help getting them out of pain and back to the sport they love as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, most ankle sprains are fairly mild and will heal naturally with rest. You may have heard the old R-I-C-E principal; Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate. Some sprains however will not heal naturally over time and will need expert help, possibly even surgery, to fix. This is where I can help.
Your ankle joint is formed by the lower shin bone (tibia) and the ankle bone (talus). Strong ligaments between these bones help hold the joint securely in place.
When we twist our ankle, which usually happens when walking or running, these ligaments can become damaged. If the twist is particularly violent, the ligaments may even tear (rupture) completely.
If the ligaments have been damaged, the ankle sprain may never fully heal naturally.
People who come to see me for help with ankle sprains tend to complain of one or many of the following:
- feeling unsteady or weak around the ankle
- ankle giving way, especially on uneven ground
If you've had a particularly nasty sprain, you may feel that you ankle has never really felt right again. If you can relate to this, it can be helpful to get an expert assessment of things to see if there are any treatments that could help take your pain away and restore stability in your ankle.
A consultation with me can be a really good way of finding out what's wrong with your ankle and what can be done to help fix it. I'll talk with you about how your ankle feels and behaves and will carry out a thorough examination of the ankle.
I will usually arrange for you to have an X-ray of the ankle as this can help assess the extent of any problems. If any further diagnostic scans are needed to confirm diagnosis or to plan treatment, I will arrange those to be carried out for you as well.
I know that recurrent ankle sprains can be really frustrating. The good news is that I also know there are a number of good, effective treatments available that can help get you out of pain and back to better ankle strength, stability and movement.
These treatments fall into two categories; non-surgical (known as 'conservative') and surgical. In nearly all cases, I will always start with the conservative treatment, which is physiotherapy, as this can be very effective in managing ankle sprains and reducing the likelihood of getting them in the future. Using a number of specific exercises, your ankle will be strengthened and stabilised. Physiotherapy isn't an instant cure; it will take time and effort, but the results can be really very good.
Sometimes, physiotherapy may not be able to give you the results you would like. In these cases, surgery to repair the ligament can be helpful.
If I believe surgery will be the best treatment option for you, I will always talk with you about how the operation will be done and what you should expect you recovery to be like. As with any surgery, you should be aware of all the facts before making a decision to go ahead with it or not. The decision to have surgery is always yours to make, I will make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed choice.
At your consultation, you are always very welcome to ask me any questions you have about treatment options, or to talk through any concerns. I am always very happy to help.
Ankle sprains can be painful, frustrating and limiting. Recurrent ankle sprains multiply those problems. Rather than just putting up with things, why not come and see me for help?
It is very easy to arrange to see me at Circle, my private secretary will be delighted to schedule a time that's convenient for you. I will help you get the best treatment for your ankle sprain so that you can get back to your normal activities as soon as possible.