by Mia Thomas PT, DPT
Chronic ankle sprains are the most common injuries in sports across the board, they account for 16 to 21% of all sports related injuries and over a six year period accounted for 21% of the visits to the emergency department. Because this injury is so common, it is often undervalued as a chronic issue and not properly taken care of; approximately 55% to 74% of people with an ankle sprain have residual symptoms, such as decreased strength, range of motion, or pain that lasts for a minimum of six weeks to 18 months; however, those of us that have had ankle sprains know that this injuries continues to haunt us throughout our lifetime.
So, how can we prevent getting chronic ankle instability from a careless accident resulting in an ankle sprain? Seek medical advice! Only 45% of persons that have suffered from an ankle sprain speak with their doctor or seek physical therapy treatment afterward. This is not only problematic in how you recover from your ankle sprain, but sometimes it helps rule out other conditions that present similarly to an ankle sprain and occurs with a similar mechanism of injury. Physical therapy treatments will not only allow you to regain your full range of motion after an injury, which can prevent further injuries in the feet, hips, or knees, but it also helps retrain your ankle to adapt to the ever changing environments it is introduced to. Training your ankle to adapt to uneven surfaces will decrease the risk for future falls and potential recurring ankle sprains.