Ankle sprains sometimes heal slowly

By Tom Nordlie • Published: September 3rd, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Sprained ankles. Everybody’s had them.

They’re one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries, striking twenty-three-thousand Americans each day.

Most of us ice them down, maybe tape them up and limp along for a week or two until things return to normal.

But not everyone walks away from this injury so quickly.

A review article published in The American Journal of Medicine revealed that some people suffer lingering effects for up to three years.

In the article, researchers examined thirty-one prior studies.

The data showed that one year after a sprained ankle, anywhere from five percent to thirty-three percent of patients were still experiencing pain. After three years, it was five to twenty-five percent.

Recurring sprains were a problem, too.

They struck between three and thirty-four percent of patients, depending on how long the follow-up lasted.

The researchers wondered if there are factors that make sprains less likely to heal.

They found there wasn’t much data available.

One study showed people who engaged in serious sports training at least three times per week were more likely to have incomplete recovery.

The researchers also looked for a connection between the severity of the initial sprain and lingering problems. They didn’t find one.

So, it’s uncertain who’ll be limping longer than average.

Their best advice… if you get a sprain, see your doctor and follow her recommendations.

It should reduce the odds you’ll end up in a marathon race against pain… and have to avoid running any other marathons.