Chronic Ankle Sprains?

16 May Chronic Ankle Sprains?

What Causes Recurring Ankle Sprains?

Ankle sprains are the most common lower-body injury. An ankle sprain happens when the ligaments surrounding the ankle are stressed too often or too severely. The ligament stretches or tears and can no longer support the ankle.

Some people only have one ankle sprain and experience complete rehabilitation, but others endure repeated sprains. This is particularly true for people who play soccer, basketball, and other sports that involve jumping and twisting motions. What causes recurrent ankle sprains? Here are three major culprits.

Joint Instability

Chronic ankle instability often happens when you’ve had an ankle sprain that did not heal properly or wasn’t properly rehabilitated. It can take 12 weeks to fully recover from an ankle sprain.

Proper rehabilitation is crucial to strengthening the muscles around your ankles and retraining the ligaments that help you balance. Every sprain that happens after the first one will further weaken the muscles and ligaments.

What are some treatments to correct ankle instability? Your podiatrist may recommend the following:

  • Physical therapy to strengthen the ankle and improve its range of motion.
  • Bracing to support the ankle.
  • Anti-inflammatory pain medications.

Improper Footwear

If you play a sport, always use the right footwear for that activity or sport. Don’t use running shoes to play basketball or go for a hike. The right footwear will protect and support your feet while you’re engaged in twisting, rolling, jumping, or walking over uneven terrain.

Here are some tips to ensuring you get the right shoes for the right activities:

  • Consult footwear or athletic professionals. Get professional measurements and fittings from a store that offers these services. Shoes that are too loose can leave your ankle unsupported and put you at risk of sprains.
  • Wear socks. When you get fitted for shoes, wear the socks you plan to use with them.
  • Get the right soles. Different activities need different soles. Hiking on rough terrain requires shoes with rigid soles and strong ankle support, but walking on paved streets requires flexible soles. Cleats are the right choice for sports that involve twisting motions.
  • Add custom orthotics. To get the most comfortable, supportive shoes for your activity, ask your podiatrist to design orthotics for you.

Muscle Weakness

Muscle weakness is a major contributor to recurrent ankle sprains. You may think your leg muscles must be strong if you regularly exercise, but it’s important to work the right muscles. You need strong hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps to make sure your gait is correct.

Exercises that focus on these muscle groups will improve your alignment and prevent injuries. Muscles that strengthen your core can improve your balance, and that will also help you walk and run correctly.

The best choices are compound exercises that work the core and major leg muscles, including:

  • Squats.
  • Lunges.
  • Deadlifts.
  • Leg presses.
  • Goblet squats.
  • Leg curls.

Talk to a Podiatrist

If you’ve experienced recurrent ankle sprains, you may have a problem that requires professional podiatric treatment. At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we offer custom orthotics, rehabilitation protocols, and footwear guidance. Learn how to enjoy your favorite activities while reducing your risk of injury. Call us today.

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