Many adults who sprained their ankles when they were younger could be at risk for more serious damage as they age and try to stay active. It’s important to get your ankles checked for chronic instability caused by old injuries. 

According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, it is estimated that one in four sports injuries involves the foot or ankle. A majority of them occur because previous injuries did not heal properly.

An untreated ankle sprain may lead to persistent discomfort and a giving way of the ankle. Weakness in the leg may also develop.

Pain isn’t normal in the ankle, even if you’re just getting back into shape. 

Swelling is another symptom that those who were previously injured may experience. Both amateur and professional athletes often underestimate how serious a sprain can be. And they often rush back into their sport without taking time to rehabilitate the injury properly. 

A sprain that happened years ago can leave residual weakness that isn’t noticed in normal daily activity. Rigorous physical activity can further damage improperly healed ligaments and cause persistent pain and swelling.

For anyone hoping to regain past physical fitness, it’s recommended that you have that old ankle injury checked out before becoming active again.

Some sprains are severe enough to strain or tear the tendons on the outside of the ankle. Research shows that more than 85 percent of athletes who had surgery to repair a torn peroneal tendon were able to return to their sport within three months after the procedure. 

Peroneal tendon tears are an overlooked cause of pain in the lower part of the ankle. Although surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly, surgical repair of the peroneal tendons is proving to be very successful in helping athletes with serious ankle problems return to full activity.

Persistent pain and tenderness after a sprain, especially if you felt a “pop” on the outside of the ankle and couldn’t stand on tiptoe, might be a warning sign that the tendon is torn or split. The injury is best diagnosed with an MRI exam. 

For more information about ankle sprains or to schedule an appointment to have your ankles examined, contact Wentz Foot & Ankle Specialists at 719-539-6600.

Dr. Ralph Wentz is a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon in Salida and a fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

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