How to Keep a Sprained Ankle From Becoming Chronic Instability

Many things we do every day can put a lot of stress on our bodies. Ankles have a large range of motion, but they can easily be twisted too far, causing injury. If you think that you may have sprained your ankle, it’s important to get it examined by a doctor immediately.

Sprains fit into the medical category of “acute injuries,” meaning that they happen very suddenly and tend to cause intense pain. Strains and fractures are also considered acute injuries. A doctor can tell you for sure what has happened to your ankle and recommend a treatment plan to ensure your injury heals correctly.

Here at Ross Bridge Medical Center, Dr. Madhav Devani is a highly experienced doctor who determines the severity of your injury. After establishing your diagnosis, he recommends a course of treatment for healing along with therapy to ensure that your ligaments learn to move correctly again. A sprained ankle can take a few weeks or even months to completely heal, so you want to take great care to not re-injure it.

What is a sprain?

A sprain is a tear or stretch in a ligament caused by moving the ligament beyond the normal range of motion. Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect bones to other bones at the joints. A sprain typically happens when a sudden movement causes injury to the ligaments that support that joint.

A sprained ankle is usually caused by damage to the lateral (outside) ligaments that connect the bones of your leg to the bones in your feet. Through a twisting or turning motion, you have pushed the ligaments that stabilize the joint past their normal boundaries and caused an injury.

How do I know I have a sprain?

Depending on the severity, exact location, and cause of your sprain, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Stiffness
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Inability to put weight on the ankle
  • Skin discoloration

If you twist your ankle and experience any of these symptoms, it’s difficult to know for sure that you have a sprain without medical examination. We recommend that any time you have an acute injury, you see a doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What is chronic ankle instability?

Chronic ankle instability occurs when the ligaments stabilizing the outside of your ankle repeatedly give way. It can happen when you are simply standing up, or while walking or participating in other activities. It can make you feel wobbly and cause tenderness, swelling, or pain.

Causes of ankle instability

The biggest cause of chronic ankle instability is an ankle sprain that hasn’t healed correctly or was not rehabilitated adequately. The sprain causes the ligaments to be stretched or torn, affecting your ability to balance on your feet. Proper healing followed by therapy can help to strengthen the ankle muscles and ligaments and prevent re-injury.

Repeated sprains can weaken your ligaments and increase the likelihood of having chronic instability. This is why it’s crucial to see your doctor when you have a sprain, to ensure you have the proper diagnosis, treatment, and physical therapy if needed. In order to prevent ankle instability, take all sprains very seriously and get immediate medical treatment.

Ankle sprains can be painful and debilitating, but with proper treatment, they don’t have to cause long term disability. Call or click to set up an appointment with Dr. Devani at Ross Bridge Medical Center today!


Our goal is for you to leave our office with a memorable and enjoyable experience, which is why our welcoming and compassionate staff will do everything they can to make you feel right at home.

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