A Close View at the Long-Term Effects of Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are an-all-too common injury. Chances are that you’ve experienced a sprain or two in your lifetime, especially if you’re an active person. It’s easy to sprain your ankle with a misstep off any uneven surface, landing on your foot a certain way, moving too quickly, or rapidly changing direction in your movements. Most people will just wrap up their ankle and move on with their lives. What they don’t realize is that any ankle injury can have some long-term consequences. It’s a smart idea to visit an ankle and foot center when you’ve sprained your ankle in order to prevent any long-term damage.


Ligaments

One problem with ankle sprains is that the injury results from stretching out the ligaments in the ankle suddenly and violently beyond their usual range of motion. Ligaments aren’t elastic like a muscle is. Once they’ve been stretched out, they don’t go back to normal. This leaves your ankle weak, especially in the direction that the sprain occurred.


Ligament-Related Troubles

The damaged ligaments will lose some of their ability to communicate effectively to your brain. This means your ankle will be less coordinated than it was before. This can lead to balance troubles and weak reflexes in your ankle. Without proper treatment, these problems will only continue to grow. You can strengthen the other muscles in your ankle to help combat the troubles, but there will always be a difference between your ankle that hasn’t been sprained and your sprained ankle.


Dorsiflexion

The other problems with sprained ankles are ones that have long-term effects. Eventually, you will notice a loss of ankle dorsiflexion, the direction that your ankle moves while attempting to bring your toes closer to your face. This change can be noticed anywhere from months to years after the sprain occurs as the changes are slow and heavily dependent on how much you use your ankle.


Dorsiflexion-Related Troubles

The loss of ankle dorsiflexion will create some problems with more than just your ankle. You will notice that walking becomes increasingly difficult. Along with the difficulty walking, muscles throughout your leg and pelvis will become weakened. This weakening causes chronic pain throughout your leg, hips, and lower back. It may start off as a minute amount of pain that you’ll barely notice. But the chronic pain will grow and it will start to impact your everyday life by making simple movements difficult.


Other Long-Term Problems

There is no such thing as “just an ankle sprain” when it comes to ankle-related injuries. When you sprain your ankle and don’t let it heal properly, you can experience all of the abovementioned problems throughout the rest of your life. With the damage done to your ankle, you’re more likely to develop arthritis in your ankle. This will only limit your range of movement further and increase the amount of pain that you feel on a regular basis.


If you’ve experienced an ankle sprain at any point in your life, all hope isn’t lost. A foot doctor in The Woodlands, TX, can help you. You aren’t doomed to experience chronic pain and arthritis forever. There are some exercises and stretches that you can do to regain any dorsiflexion loss that you’ve noticed. Visit a specialist with Ankle & Foot Specialists of Conroe, The Woodlands at http://ankleandfootspecialist.com/our-doctors.html for more information.