Ankle sprains are one of the most common foot issues in society, and thousands of Americans sprain their ankles on a daily basis. The good news is that we know a lot about sprained ankles, and many patients can successfully treat their problems on their own or with a little help from the doctor. But what happens if, despite your best efforts, your ankle sprain simply won’t heal? We explain what to do when an ankle sprain won’t go away in today’s blog.
Treating Ankle Sprains That Won’t Heal
So what should you do if it’s been weeks now and you’re still dealing with lingering symptoms following an ankle sprain? Here’s what you should consider.
1. Double Down on Treatment – For a lot of patients who are suffering to fully heal following an ankle sprain, their issue is that they aren’t fully committed to a rehab plan. They assume that, given enough time, their ankle will eventually heal. Despite the saying, time doesn’t in fact heal all wounds. Sometimes targeted physical therapy and gentle stretching exercises will help get you over the hump, or maybe you need to scale back the physical activity. Don’t just assume time will heal your ankle sprain, really commit to an active treatment plan to see if that helps.
2. Second Opinion – If you’re having lingering discomfort after an ankle sprain, consider having it looked at by a doctor. If you’ve already undergone a professional diagnosis, but weeks of treatment have yet to provide relief, consider getting a second opinion. Maybe your sprain actually includes a minor fracture or a significantly torn ligament. Make sure you know what you’re dealing with if you want to make a full recovery, so seek out a professional for a diagnosis if pain lingers.
3. Patience – In some instances where a severe ankle sprain is involved, non-operative treatment takes months. Don’t just assume that because there is no fracture that you’ll be back to normal in a week or two. Grade III sprains can take 12 weeks to heal, so remind yourself that it’s going to take some time. Focus on the progress you’re making, even if it’s only small improvements on a weekly scale. If you’re committed to a rehab plan and you know what you’re dealing with, sometimes all you need is a little more patience.
4. Surgery – If you’ve tried all the above solutions and are still dealing with pain, it may be time to consider surgery for your ankle. Even if there are not fractures, severe sprains can do permanent damage to the supportive ligaments in your ankle, and this can cause long-term symptoms. If you suffer recurrent ankle sprains or your foot feels unstable long after an ankle sprain, talk to Dr. Silverman about ankle instability treatments. He specializes in ankle instability care, and if surgery is needed, he can use minimally invasive techniques to restrengthen the damaged ligaments and get you back on the path to full health.