Treating Chronic Pain After an Ankle Sprain

Even if you never set foot on a soccer field, tennis court, or baseball diamond, the odds are pretty good you will suffer a sprained ankle at least once in your life. Sure, these injuries happen rather easily when making a sudden move in an intense game, but sometimes all it takes is misjudging a curb or stair, or stepping in an indentation in the lawn.

Treating Chronic Pain After an Ankle Sprain When patients come see us for sports injury treatment—including treatment for chronic pain after an ankle sprain—there are usually several things they will want to know, including “how long until it’s better?” The answer obviously depends on several factors, specially the nature of the injury and its severity.

Ankle sprains are so commonplace that they might not seem like a big deal, but the fact of the matter is that returning to activity before complete ankle sprain recovery can potentially lead to increased and/or more severe issues in the future. We can certainly provide the treatment you need for ankle instability, it’s better if you can avoid it from happening in the first place. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the importance of recovering completely from a sprained ankle before you resume physical activities.

Ankle sprains are typically graded on three levels of severity:

  • Grade 1: This is the least severe, with only some slight stretching and tiny ligament tears. There will likely be some swelling and tenderness around the affected ankle. Recovery may only take around 2 weeks.
  • Grade 2: This grade indicates a moderate sprain. Pain and swelling is greater and there could be some looseness in the joint. In this case, there is a partial tear in the ligament and recovery time will be longer, somewhere between 2 to 6 weeks.
  • Grade 3: At this stage, the ligament has completely torn. This results in instability, excessive swelling around the ankle, and additional pain. Depending on the situation, we may need to consider a surgical procedure. Recovery can take up to 12 weeks.

Regardless as to how long recovery takes; it is important to emphasize that normal activities should not be resumed until the problem has been resolved. Complete ankle sprain recovery, for example, is essential before resuming a running program or playing tennis again. Going back to exercises and sports too soon can increase the risk for long-term issues.

The specific treatment plan we create for you in the event you develop chronic pain following an ankle sprain will be customized based on your unique situation, including severity of injury and level of physical activity. That said, there are some common components that may work particularly well, including:

  • Bracing – An ankle brace might be beneficial for a loose ankle by providing the support the joint is currently lacking. It can also prevent further damage to the joint by restricting movement and preventing additional ankle sprains.
  • Medication – NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), including ibuprofen, can be used to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Physical therapy – Strengthening and retraining the muscles in the area through the use of specific exercises can help improve balance and restore range of motion.

Whereas the hope is to treat the condition effectively through the use of conservative methods, this isn’t always possible. Fortunately, there are surgical procedures we might use, particularly ones that reconstruct or repair damaged ligament(s).

To accurately diagnosis the severity of the injury and find out what to expect from your ankle sprain recovery, come see us here at our Bloomington, IN office. We will evaluate your injured ankle and provide a professional assessment, along with an effective treatment plan to get you back to activity in a safe manner! Call us at (812) 333-4422 to schedule your appointment or take advantage of our online form to have any questions answered or request additional information.