Every year, millions of children and adolescents participate in sports, and while the benefits of…
Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in sports and recreational activities. It is estimated that around 25,000 people sprain their ankles every day in the United States. Although ankle sprains are generally considered minor injuries, they can cause long-term damage, especially if not treated properly. Whether it is a mild sprain or a severe one, it can cause significant pain and discomfort. However, the question that remains unanswered in most people’s minds is whether ankle sprains can cause permanent damage. In this blog post, we will discuss the severity of ankle sprains and how long it will take to recover from them.
What is an ankle sprain?
Ankle sprains occur when you twist your ankle joint and forcibly stretch or tear the ligaments that connect your ankle bones. This can happen during athletic activities, falls, or other types of accidents. The severity of the sprain depends on the degree of the sprain and the number of ligaments involved. It can result in varying levels of pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking. A mild sprain occurs when the ligament is stretched or slightly torn. A severe sprain can cause permanent damage if not treated properly, and you could be setting yourself up for more prolonged recovery times.
Can an ankle sprain cause permanent damage?
The risk of permanent damage as a result of an ankle sprain is minimal. However, it does happen in some extreme cases. A severe sprain could cause a fracture of the bone, damage the cartilage, or even dislocate the ankle. If you continuously sprain your ankle and do not allow it to heal correctly, the ligaments can become stretched out, and the joint can become unstable. This can lead to chronic ankle instability, which can cause pain and weakness in the ankle. Chronic ankle instability can also increase the risk of further ankle sprains. Another type of severe injury involves a complete tear of the ligament and will require additional treatment or even surgical repair. In this case, there may be some residual ankle instability, which can increase the risk of new injuries.
What is the recovery time?
The recovery time for an ankle sprain depends on the severity of the sprain. For a mild sprain, where the ligaments are stretched but not torn, it may take only a few days or up to two weeks to recover. Moderate sprains, where the ligaments are partially torn, may take between four to six weeks. For severe sprains, which involve a complete tear of the ligament, it may take several months before a full recovery is possible. The recovery time is also influenced by different factors, including your age, overall health, and how well you follow your physical therapist’s instructions.
During the recovery process, it is essential to avoid activities that could further damage the ankle, such as running and jumping. Physical therapy can also help to strengthen the ankle, restore range of motion, and prevent chronic ankle instability.
Ankle sprain prevention
Tips to prevent ankle sprains include wearing proper footwear, performing warm-up exercises before activity, and watching your step on uneven surfaces. It is also essential to maintain good overall health including a healthy diet, and regular exercise to reduce your risk of ankle sprains.
Returning to normal activities too quickly or without proper rehabilitation can result in a re-injury to the ankle. So, it is essential to allow the ankle to heal entirely and adequately strengthen it before resuming your daily activities. Your physical therapist will inform you on when it is safe to start exercising the ankle and how to prevent future injuries.
Ankle sprains can be painful and disabling if not treated properly. If you have an ankle sprain, it is essential to follow your physical therapist’s instructions and take the necessary steps for healing. With proper care, most people can recover from an ankle sprain without any complications. However, if left untreated, ankle sprains can cause permanent damage and chronic ankle instability. Physical therapy can be a helpful tool when rehabilitating from ankle sprains. A physical therapist will work with you to restore normal function of the ankle, prevent future injury, and help get you back to doing the activities you enjoy.
Schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists today to get started![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]