First time ankle sprained, may it happen again?

Patient

Q: I am a 14 year old female and 2 months ago roughly I went to the hospital after injuring my foot and they said I sprained it. I was just wondering how common is this type of injury and also is it more common to do it again after spraining it the first time because I have at the moment the same amount of pain as when I did it.

Doctor

A:   Yes,multiple sprains may lead to a torn ligament of the ankle, which may produce chronic pain and instability. Chronic ankle pain due to a unresolved severe ankle sprain, meaning that by the time when you had the injury, maybe you had lack of appropriate and early immobilization, lack of timely prescribed mobility and strengthening exercises, the development of scar tissue in the ligaments affected, or too much time immobilized.This is why is very important to treat right since the very first time an ankle sprain. All these mentioned factors are cause of Chronic Ankle pain and instability. Sometimes the use of orthotics that correct the Hyperpronation of the ankle (ankle with tendency to be inwards) is useful in relieving the symptoms (pain and inflammation) in the chronic and unresolved ankle sprains. If this does not work, further evaluation, meaning local exam in terms of checking ankle stability and imaging, MRI, to see integrity of the ligaments are required to determine the right treatment option. If there are no ligamentous tears, you could still use some physical therapy treatment sessions to control pain and swelling that include: ultrasound, whirpool baths, ice and heat and active exercises to strengthening the ankle muscles, it helps also tape the ankle and begin the weight bearing progressively, as long as you do not feel pain or discomfort. But if there are ligamentous tears seen in the MRI and mayor ankle instability, then the surgery may be considered.

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