Ankle Sprains

With the Kansas City Chiefs season still under way and the AFC Championship (Lamar Hunt Trophy) on the line, I will continue with the sports medicine theme. Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries in the National Football League (NFL) and sports in general. In fact, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots played his way to Super Bowl XLIX with a sprained ankle, and Patrick Mahomes hobbled off the field in the NFL Playoff game last week with what looked like an ankle injury. Luckily for Chiefs fans, Mahomes is too determined to take Kansas City to Super Bowl LIII to be hobbled for more than a minute or two.

Two million people sprain their ankle every year in the United States, resulting in 30% of all sports injuries. They can be classified on a spectrum from minor to traumatic. You may have heard the phrase “you would have been better off breaking it” in reference to severe ankle sprains.

It is important to be evaluated by a foot and ankle specialist (podiatrist) after ankle sprains so we can diagnose the severity and any possible additional injuries that may be associated. What looks like an ankle sprain may be a tendon rupture or break in the bone. These injuries are treated differently.

As foot and ankle surgeons, we have a variety of treatment options for ankle sprains. It may be as simple as icing, elevating, and staying off your foot. However, recent studies show that dysfunction can persist in up to 40% of patients for as long as 6 months following the injury. Therefore, foot and ankle specialists are treating sprains more aggressively with range of motion exercises or even physical therapy referrals in certain cases. Bad sprains not treated with appropriate rehab may be at increased risk of developing ankle arthritis and/or an unstable ankle later in life.

If you are dealing with a sprain or have other foot and pain, contact Jayhawk Foot & Ankle Clinic.

Dr. Michael Johnson