Ankle sprains are common recurrent injuries that occur in people of all ages. If sprained ankles are not treated correctly – and sometimes even when they are – they can become chronically unstable, leading to ongoing trauma and pain.
“An ankle sprain is an injury, or tear, to the ankle’s lateral ligament complex, which provides stability to the joint,” says Shawn Bifano, MD, orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon with LVPG Orthopedics and Sports Medicine–Dickson City. He recommends conservative treatment for the majority of individuals experiencing their first ankle sprain.
“If it’s significantly swollen and they can’t bear weight, once we ensure there are no fractures or other pathology, we immobilize the ankle for a short period of time using a boot so that inflammation calms down,” Bifano explains. He transitions patients to an ankle brace and physical therapy within one to two weeks.