Question - Untreated Ankle Sprains

by Cindy
(Moncton New Brunswick Canada)

What are the effects of having a level 3 ankle sprain misdiagnosed and treated as a minor sprain (ie physio)?

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Apr 07, 2012
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Ankle Sprain
by: Anonymous

I have sprained both of my ankle. I sprained the right ankle back when I was a junior in High School playing volleyball and I sprained the left one in college playing volleyball. I used to be able to jump really high but after the first ankle sprain that didnt happen as much. Problem is they gave me three weeks also to come back and start playing again, I was in so much pain while in High School. When I went away to college and started playing it gave me pain but I used heat and things of that nature and would always get my ankles taped. I tried to go out for track but I felt there was something wrong. Besides the fact I sprained both ankles my right ankle always swelled bigger than my the ankle I had presently sprained in 2009. Iwould do calf raises and I can hardly build musle in my right leg. My ankle just swells bigger and gives me pain when running so I quit the team. I decided the next year to play vball that fall 2010. everything was ok at first. I was kind of used to the ankle pain, but it got worse and would tire me out to the point that I could not practice the entire practice, run, and when I jumped I couldn't jump as high because of the pain I was trying to use my left leg. I decided to stop playing sports. I am twenty-one and I dont find that fair. I still workout but I would like to be able to run some distance and jump and other things without getting tire out by the pain. I have became accustomed to the fact when I am trying to get to class walking fast I end up with pain. The last year I played volleyballl in College they put me on a anabolic steriod and it did not help. Is there a possibility that I have ligament tearing and it did not show up on the mri. I am just wondering because after all this it seemed to my teammates at that time I just made to many excuses.

Jan 27, 2008
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Wonderful Question!
by: Bart - SII

I was just talking to one of my patients Friday about ankle sprains and how they are so often overlooked.

A Grade III ankle sprain involves significant tearing the the ankle ligaments, usually the lateral ligaments including the Anterior Talo-Fibular Ligament and the Calcaneal Fibular Ligament. The most significant problem you encounter if it is treated as a mild sprain is that the ankle is not rested long enough to allow the tissues to form a good scar matrix and to tighten the ligament back down.

This results in looseness in the joint, and all of the problems that can go with that. Instability, pain, recurrent sprains, and all kinds of other things can occur if you have looseness in your ankle.

When a ligament is disrupted, it looses its ability to provide feedback to the muscles. This is one of the most important jobs of a ligament. When this communication, or proprioception is decreased, the muscles cannot effectively stabilize the joint, and so you get all of the above symptoms.

If you have a significant amount of laxity in the ligament, the best thing that you can do is to focus rehab on lots and lots of balancing activities. This will help to increase the communication between the joint and the muscles, and the muscles can be trained to help stabilize the ankle.

For some people, a good rehabilitation program that restores and enhances their proprioception will be enough. The other option is surgical intervention to restore the normal anatomic properties of the ligament. The most common ankle procedure for this is called a Brostrom procedure, or Modified Brostrom.

Again, great question. I hope this helps...comment back if you have more questions.

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