Is your sprained ankle the beginning of a lifetime problem? It could be says the NY Times.

ankle sprain

Is your sprained ankle the beginning of a lifetime problem. It could be says the NY Times

Many of us have had a sprained ankle, or twisted it while playing basketball or another sport or activity. Years later, that old injury can develop into other problems in the knee, foot and back that can last a lifetime. A holistic approach involving evaluating the ankle and foot, as well as the leg and the back can help you prevent future problems years later.

Our office has treated many chronic ankle problems that resulted in one sprain leading to a weak ankle and multiple ankle sprains over the years. Many people with chronic ankle problems also experience lower and upper back problems as well because the joints in the foot and the ankle will affect knee, hip and back function as well while the ankle heals.

See the source imageAnkle stability and stiffness years ago was thought to be helped by high top sneakers, which really just added a slight amount of protection, and not enough to prevent the next injury. Perhaps, it may have to do with the fact that an ankle sprain will cause tightening and scarring of the surrounding calf, tibialis and peronei muscles which are essential for walking, as well as the hallicus longus which is responsible for your toe springing off properly when you step into your foot.

Years later, these same people have back pain, knee problems, sciatica as well as other functional problems that began with a sprain that was not properly cared for. After the initial healing of an ankle, it is helpful to begin walking on it as soon as you can tolerate it to begin proper healing. After about four weeks, working on the surrounding muscles can markedly improve mobility, stability and strength and after 5-6 weeks, manipulation of the joint to restore proper foot joint movement can markedly improve the way the ankle feels and moves.

The foot and ankle are made of multiple bones that are designed to handle terrain without shoes.   The idea of putting the foot in a box which is what we do with shoes also deconditions the foot as well which is why walking barefoot should be a part of your recovery regimen.   Part of your rehabilitation of an ankle should include exercises such as foot drills, balancing on a balance sponge, wobble board or just barefoot on the floor as tolerated.  It should also include seeing a chiropractor who can manipulate the joint and restore movement to the ankle as well as the bones of the foot and manipulation of the spine and soft tissues surrounding it as well which will be affected by your altered gait while you recover from the injury.

The NY Times suggested other problems as well. Read the article here.

A Sprained Ankle May Have Lifelong Consequences
By Gretchen Reynolds September 16, 2015

Tens of thousands of Americans sprain an ankle every year. But ankle sprains get little respect, with most of us shrugging off the injury as inconsequential and soon returning to normal activities.

Several new studies in people and animals, however, suggest that the effects of even a single sprained ankle could be more substantial and lingering than we have supposed, potentially altering how well and often someone moves, for life.

Healthy ankles are, of course, essential for movement.

“The ankle is the base of the body,” said Tricia Hubbard-Turner, a professor of kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who led the recent studies. “Everything starts with the ankle.”

But the ankle can be surprisingly fragile and vulnerable to clumsiness (or maybe that’s just me). Step awkwardly off a curb, slide off your high heels, plant a foot wrong while running or playing a sport, and you overstretch or tear the ligaments around the joint and sprain your ankle.

Until recently, few of us worried much about the injury, assuming in most cases that the sprain would fully heal within a week or two, with or without medical attention.

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