Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute

How to Prevent a Sprained Ankle From Becoming a Chronic Instability

Sep 07, 2023
How to Prevent a Sprained Ankle From Becoming a Chronic Instability
An ankle sprain is annoying. But when the sprain keeps recurring, your mobility is impacted. Fortunately, we have some tips to help you avoid chronic ankle instability. Keep reading to learn more.

Most people experience at least one ankle sprain. It usually happens fast. You’re walking down some stairs, playing a sport, or simply taking a stroll. Suddenly, everything takes a turn. 

The good news is most ankle sprains will heal on their own. A sprained ankle needs ample rest after the injury. Ice, compressing and elevating the ankle, and anti-inflammatory medications are also suggested. 

The bad news is one ankle sprain heightens your likelihood of another. In fact, some people wind up with repeated sprains stemming from a condition called chronic ankle instability. 

Whether this was your first sprain or you’ve had multiple, we’re here to help. At Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute in American Fork and Saratoga Springs, Utah, our team specializes in both ankle sprains and ankle instability. We can work with you to prevent chronic instability. 

We personalize a treatment plan for you, but there are a few tips we generally recommend. 

Strengthen the area

Chronic ankle instability comes from issues in the soft tissues of your foot and ankle. A sprain affects these tissues, stretching or potentially tearing them. Ideally, given ample time, these tissues heal themselves.

Instability arises when the area doesn’t heal the way it should. Strengthening your ankle and retraining those tissues to perform properly goes a long way toward preventing this issue. We can help you get started with physical therapy to bolster the muscular support in your ankle. 

Move your Ankle

Once the pain has decreased, start small circular motions of the ankle in both directions. Usually, you can start this 3-5 days after your injury. This will help improve the motion, decrease the stiffness, and help you get back to activity.

Ease back in

A desire to strengthen your ankle shouldn’t mean you hit the ground running (especially literally). You need to gradually ease back into activity. We can help you develop a plan to scale back into your normal life. 

Work on your balance

A trip-and-fall incident can land you with another ankle sprain. Improving your balance helps avoid those mishaps. Activities like yoga or balance-boosting exercises go a long way. 

Brace the ankle when appropriate

After a sprain, your ankle may need some extra support. We recommend that some people brace their ankles when playing a sport for a certain period (e.g., six months). Wearing a brace is especially helpful if you have a history of ankle sprains. 

Ultimately, there’s a lot you can do to prevent one ankle sprain from turning into several. To get a personalized ankle instability prevention plan, call our team at (801) 756-4200. We can set you up with an appointment at the Rogers Foot and Ankle Institute office nearest you.