Posts for: January, 2013
Following an ankle injury, such as a sprain or in more serious cases, ankle surgery, you will inevitably lose some strength and range of motion after being immobilized for an extended period of time. A weak ankle can hinder normal mobility and eventually lead to another injury.
Your ankle or leg may feel stiff, especially if treatment required wearing a cast or a walking boot. Stiffness and instability are common symptoms following an ankle injury that will need to be addressed in order to get you back to your normal range of motion and activity level.
Your Fairfax podiatrist may recommend post-injury physical therapy or home exercises that will help you strengthen weak muscles surrounding the ankle joint and restore mobility to lower your risk of re-injury. These series of stretches and exercises include range of motion exercises for the injured ankle and stretching exercises for the calf muscles.
Range of motion exercises help loosen stiff ankles while helping you regain any motion that was lost during the healing process. It’s also important to keep your muscles flexible by stretching, especially prior to any workout or physical activity to decrease the risk of re-injury. As with all exercises, progress slowly and discontinue if painful.
The shoes you wear will also play an important role in protecting your injured ankle and restoring your mobility. Supportive shoes will provide more comfort, better balance and help stabilize the weak ankle to prevent re-injury.
Proper care and rehabilitation following an ankle injury is critical to ensure your ankle fully heals. Always consult Family Foot and Ankle Centers if ankle pain or stiffness persists or worsens, and before starting any new exercise program.
Chronic ankle instability (unstable ankle) is a condition characterized by a recurring “giving way” of the outer side of the ankle. It most often develops following an ankle sprain. When the stretched or torn ligaments do no heal properly or completely, ankle instability is often the result.
If you have chronic ankle instability, you may find it difficult to walk on uneven surfaces. Other symptoms include a repeated turning of the ankle during physical activity, tenderness, and persistent discomfort and swelling.
Treatment for an unstable ankle will depend on the degree of instability. Bracing, medications and physical therapy are all conservative treatment options that may help strengthen your weakened ankle. Often patients with ankle instability can be treated without surgery by strengthening the muscles that control the ankle joint; avoiding and or limiting high impact activities; and using a supportive brace to decrease the risk of recurrent ankle sprains.
In severe cases or when conservative treatments aren’t successful, your podiatrist may recommend surgery, which involves repair or reconstruction of the damaged ligaments.
If your ankle feels unstable or if you have had recurring ankle sprains, visit Main St Fairfax, VA for an evaluation. Left untreated, chronic ankle instability leads to activity restrictions, tendon complications, arthritis and continued instability. Our Fairfax podiatrists can provide a recommended treatment plan based on the severity of your instability so that you can get back to the activities you enjoy.