Sprained or rolled ankles are one of if not the most common injury that athletes suffer on a regular basis, but you don’t have to be an elite athlete to know the pain of a sprained ankle. Many people roll their ankles in much less intense activity, as simply stepping on an uneven part of the sidewalk can be enough to cause your ankle to roll.
It’s not uncommon to roll your ankle, but if it’s happening rather frequently and with pretty innocuous actions, you may benefit from a consultation with a foot and ankle specialist. Oftentimes, repeated ankle sprains are the result of ankle instability. Below, we talk a little bit more about the condition and how it is best treated.
Repeated Ankle Sprains
If you’re suffering from repeated ankle sprains or your ankles are constantly rolling, odds are you’re dealing with ankle instability. Ankle instability is a condition categorized by damage to the lateral ankle ligaments. These ligaments on the outside of your ankle help to provide stability and support for your ankle joint with every step you take. When they are damaged, they are unable to provide as much support, and it takes less dysfunction for a sprain to occur.
We always like to demonstrate this idea with an example. Imagine you have a straw and you place it straight up on a table. If you push down on the top of the straw, you can put a decent amount of force on the straw before it bends somewhere along its length. Now that it has a bend in it, if you set it back up on the table and again push down on the top of the straw, you’ll notice that you cannot apply as much downwards pressure on the straw until it gives out at the spot where the initial bend occurred.
This is how your lateral ankle ligaments work. When healthy, they can provide plenty of support and prevent frequent rolling of the ankle. But if they suffer trauma or microtears, it takes less stress before it gives out and the ankle rolls.
The good news is that ankle ligaments can be strengthened in a number of different ways. Rest is the most obvious, but rest alone won’t help you achieve maximum healing. You’ll also want to begin a physical therapy regimen. This will help the ligaments get stronger and be able to bear more stress. Your foot and ankle specialist can set you up with a PT routine if you’re interested in strengthening your lateral ankle ligaments.
On the off chance that conservative care doesn’t work, Dr. Silverman can also perform a minimally invasive surgery to reinforce your ankle ligaments. This procedure really helps to strengthen the ligaments and provide stabilization for the ankle. It is a rather straightforward operation that usually produces fantastic results. You can learn more about the operation by watching this short video Dr. Silverman put together.