Ankle sprains are common injuries that we treat in the clinic, but do you know that it can actually lead to decreased mobility over time. Many know what an ankle sprain is and how it can occur, but do you know the after effect? How having multiple ankle sprains can lead to other injuries up the kinetik chain. In this blog we will discuss what makes up the ankle joint, what can happen to the joint through several injuries, and what you can do to help prevent recurrence. What is the ankle?
The ankle is formed by the bones of the foot (talus) and the leg (fibula/tibia). It is known as a hinge joint because it completes up (dorsiflexion) and down (plantarflexion) motion. There are several ligaments that surround the joint: anterior talofibular, calcaneofibular, posterior talofibular, deltoid ligament, anterior inferior tibiofibular, posterior inferior tibiofibular, transverse, and interosseous. The most common type of ankle sprain is with the anterior talofibular ligament. This sits on the outside of the foot and results when the ankle is rolled inward. There are three grades of sprains:
Grade 1: minor tear (usually able to walk and function with some pain, swelling, and stiffness)
Grade 2: incomplete tear (moderate pain, swelling, and bruising which makes walking painful)
Grade 3: complete tear (severe swelling and bruising, the ankle is unstable making walking painful
How can multiple sprains affect the joint over time?
Although an ankle sprain leaves the joint with more mobility than needed, as it heals it will start to tighten. The body is smart and it wants to protect itself from another injury. As scar tissue develops over an injury it lays a thicker more fibrous tissue. Over time that scar tissue can become painful when it lays over a nerve or prevents full motion of a joint. This leads to what is called hypomobility. It can become difficult or painful to complete movement at the ankle joint.
How to prevent a future sprain?
Once the ankle has been sprained it can reoccur again, especially if there are other areas in the body that lack strength and stability to help support the ankle. For example, it is common to see those with ankle sprains that lack good hip stability. At KinetikChain we also work on multiple joints to ensure strength throughout the body to prevent future injuries. Although someone may come in and state they have “weak ankles”, we also give a thorough assessment to get to the root cause of why the ankles may be weak. Is it due to decreased mobility or strength in the hips, do they have poor technique with squatting, etc.
Getting in to see a specialist as soon as possible is key. The longer you wait it out the worse this injury can get and the longer you will continue to be sidelined from the activities you love. Getting help will avoid the constant agony and annoyance of chasing your pain rather than attacking it head on!
Don’t wait for the pain to get any worse – make the decision to get help, right now and click the button below or email us about your specific issues and what you want to get back to at firstname.lastname@example.org