Over the last month or so, there’s been no shortage of stories about athletes and their ankle injuries. We have to wonder at some of the terminology used. How about “run-of-the-mill ankle sprain” – used to describe an injury that would keep a football player off the practice field for six weeks? “Fortunately,” said the article, “it could have been much worse.”
As experienced doctors of the foot and ankle – Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann of Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland – we bristle just a little bit at the suggestion that an injury that sidelines a player for six weeks could be “fortunate.” An ankle sprain is never good fortune. It’s a real injury that you should not ignore because a sprain that isn’t treated properly can lead to problems down the road.
What’s behind an ankle sprain
Your ankles are full of these fabulous structures we call ligaments. They are the bands of tissue that connect bones to other bones, supporting your ankles and facilitating movement.
Turning your ankle in an unnatural way causes damage to these amazing ligaments. The damage can range anywhere from very mild or very severe. Every sprain is different – there is nothing “run-of-the-mill” about it:
- Mild sprain means that the ligaments surrounding your ankle bones have been stretched beyond their normal range.
- Moderate sprain means that the ligaments have been partially torn.
- Severe sprain means that the ligaments are completely torn in one or more places.
The problem with ignoring an ankle sprain
Simply bearing the pain for a while until it feels better may work for you. But torn ligaments that are not properly healed through professional evaluation, immobilization, and physical therapy can lead to
- chronic instability, which can lead to repeated ankle sprains
- chronic lateral ankle pain
Don’t give in to the idea that “it’s only an ankle sprain.” Take an ankle sprain seriously in order to avoid complications as time goes on. Seek the professional advice of Dr. Frey or Dr. Oltmann at our office in the great community of Solon, Ohio. We offer early, late, and Saturday hours by appointment. Call us at (440) 903-1041 or click here to make an appointment online.