A sprained ankle seems harmless, right? Wrong – Several new studies have suggested that the effect of just one sprain could have long lasting implications that could possibly alter the way you move for years to come.
The ankle is the at the base of our body, and is a custom to carrying the brunt of our body weight. However, the ankle can also be quite fragile. Sprains are injuries to ligaments, the “bands” that hold joints together. Ankle sprains occur when the foot twists or turns beyond its normal range of movement, causing the ligaments to stretch beyond their normal length.
Three new studies, each co-authored by Dr. Hubbard-Turner, raise serious questions about whether ankle sprains are really so harmless. The most worrying study recruited 20 college students with chronic ankle instability – a condition caused by ankle sprains, in which the ankle easily gives way during movement – and 20 healthy students, and asked all of them to wear a pedometer for a week. As it turned out the students with chronic ankle instability moved significantly less than the other students, taking about 2,000 fewer steps on average per day.
If you twist or hurt your ankle in any way it is wise to consult a doctor or physical therapist about diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. If you have sprained an ankle in the past, even if the injury seems fully healed, consider a balance test by a physical therapist to determine whether you are more wobbly than you suspect. Your physical therapist can perform a full evaluation. Manual tests are used to determine how unstable your ankle may be. The therapist will also decide whether further tests are required or whether consultation with another health care provider is necessary.
Taking the time to consult a physical therapist is an important step on the road to recovery. Completing physical therapy can set you up for success, and get you back into action.
Reynolds, Gretchen. “A Sprained Ankle May Have Lifelong Consequences.” The New York Times 22 Sept. 2015: D4. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.