When should I consider seeing a doctor after spraining my ankle?
Ankle sprains are very common;
fortunately, most do not require surgery. However, it is often beneficial to seek medical advice to ensure that there are no associated injuries such as fractures or dislocations. An accurate diagnosis is essential to provide focused rehabilitation and optimized healing.
What is an Ankle Sprain?
The anterior talofibular (ATFL), calcaneofibular (CFL) ligament, and peroneal tendons are the most commonly injured structures when “rolling your ankle.” When these tissues are injured, they lose the ability to maintain appropriate ankle joint positioning and motion. As a result, the joint becomes unstable, leading to pain and excessive motion. This instability can lead to stress on the articular cartilage and may progress to arthritis. Therefore, your doctor will evaluate your ankle for instability of the joint as well as assess for bone injury, cartilage injury, or injury to the neighboring tendons.
Conservative Treatment for An Ankle Sprain
Once an ankle sprain is confirmed, starting treatment is critical to ensure an optimal recovery. Evidence suggests that a short period of immobilization (often with a walking boot) and ice therapy can be beneficial early in the injury. As the pain and swelling resolve, an early re-introduction of joint motion can lead to better healing. This introduction of motion is often accomplished by transitioning out of a walking boot and into a removable brace that allows some protected motion. Physical therapy is incorporated at this point to restore strength and activity in a controlled manner. For many patients that have suffered from a single mild sprain, this type of care leads to a full recovery.
Surgical Intervention for Ankle Instability
For patients with severe damage to the soft tissues of the ankle, or who have had multiple sprains, conservative treatment may leave the ankle inadequately healed, lead to chronic pain, instability, and the potential for arthritis. To address these more significant injuries, surgical intervention is often needed to re-tension the ankle by repairing or reconstructing the soft tissues.
Artelon®’s FLEXBAND® for Ankle Instability
When surgical intervention has been recommended for ankle instability, the goal is to restore the integrity and tension of the affected soft tissues. However, at times, these injured tissues have incurred so much damage that they require additional support to return to proper function. Artelon’s FLEXBAND is a next-generation implant designed to provide optimized support to healing soft tissues. This novel technology increases the strength of repair while remaining elastic enough to avoid constraining the natural motion of the ankle joint. FLEXBAND also quickly integrates with the healing tissues and will ultimately be replaced with new connective tissue over several years.
If your surgeon has recommended surgery to get you back to your active life, ask them about Artelon’s FLEXBAND for ankle instability.
Want to find a FLEXBAND Specialist near you? Our surgeon locator can help.