Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How do I rehab a chronically sprained ankle?"
I'm a 35 year old man who recently re-sprained my left ankle. I am still having pain and difficulty walking, despite the re-sprain happening over 3 months ago.
A sprained ankle can take a lot longer to heal than most people realized. If the proper treatment is done initially (ice, rest, etc), then the ankle will likely start feeling better within one week. However, often times weeks or even months later, the ankle will still ache or perhaps feel weaker than it did before the injury. For this reason, I always send all of my patients with a sprained ankle to physical therapy. Physical therapy can restore the strength that is lost in the musculature in your lower leg and reduce the amount of pain you have in that ankle. Another possibility is that you actually have a more severe injury than just a simple sprain. Ligament tears or small fractures in the ankle bones can sometimes feel like an ankle sprain initially, but won't heal up the way you expect. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can examine your ankle and determine which type of physician you should see first. If it is clearly a sprain, and no tears or fractures are suspected, then you probably can get a referral to physical therapy. If any tear or fracture is suspected, then you should see an orthopedic surgeon next.
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