PARAMUS, N.J. -- For even the most casual athlete, sprained ankles are a fact of life. But can these common injuries cause larger problems in our legs? According to the joint experts at Hospital for Special Surgery, ignoring more serious tweaks can have lasting mobility effects.
"Many of us have ‘rolled’ our ankles, causing what’s effectively known as an acute ankle sprain," said Scott Siverling, PT, OCS; manager at HSS Rehabilitation in Paramus. "Often, these injuries are self-limiting and heal rather easily with time. However, occasionally some ankle sprains can be very painful, causing us to limp or avoid certain motions."
An ankle sprain can often cause more than simply localized discomfort. During the recovery process, unintended impairments and limitations that affect the entire lower body may arise, often the result of an overcompensation for the injured joint.
For instance, a lack of ankle mobility has been shown to contribute towards knee, hip and back injuries. "A recent study found that those who suffered an ankle sprain and did not receive physical therapy or rehabilitation services were more likely to exhibit altered walking patterns," said Siverling. These changes included slower walking speeds and shorter steps, often persisting for more than a month after the injury's occurrence.
"Additionally, some ankle sprains may not heal appropriately, leading to an increased risk in 'rolling' an ankle again in the future," said Siverling. "If hurt again, the subsequent injury may cause an increase in pain and loss of motion."
When suffering from any ankle sprain, restoring full motion, coordination, balance and strength doesn't have to require a lengthy time commitment. Thanks to the advanced physical therapy treatments offered by HSS Rehabilitation, recovery is quick, effective and prevents future injuries from ever occurring.
For more information on the joint care services offered by Hospital for Special Surgery's Paramus Outpatient Center, click here.