Old Ankle Sprains Come Back to Haunt Baby Boomers

A Willoughby Hills, Ohio foot and ankle surgeon has a message for Baby Boomers getting back into fitness and sports: Get your ankles checked for chronic instability caused by injuries that might not have healed properly years ago.

Atta J. Asef, DPM, FACFAS, says many Boomers who have suffered ankle sprains in their younger years could be at risk for more serious damage as they age and try to stay active. It is estimated that one in four sports injuries involves the foot or ankle, and a majority of them occur from incomplete rehabilitation of earlier injuries.

“Pain isn’t normal in the ankle, even if you’re just getting back into shape,” says Dr. Asef.

HE says swelling is another symptom these previously-injured Boomers may experience. Both amateur and professional athletes often misunderstand how serious a sprain can be, and they rush back into action without taking time to rehabilitate the injury properly.

“A sprain that happened years ago can leave residual weakness that isn’t noticed in normal daily activity, but subjecting the ankle to rigorous physical activity can further damage improperly healed ligaments, and cause persistent pain and swelling,” He said.  “For anyone hoping to regain past athletic fitness, it’s recommended that you have that old ankle injury checked out before becoming active again.”

Some sprains are severe enough to strain or tear the tendons on the outside of the ankle, called the peroneal tendons.  Research shows that more than 85 percent of athletes who had surgery to repair a torn peroneal tendon were able to return to full sporting activity within three months after the procedure.

“Peroneal tendon tears are an overlooked cause of lateral ankle pain,” said Dr. Asef. “Although surgery for athletically active patients shouldn’t be taken lightly, surgical repair of the peroneal tendons is proving to be very successful in helping athletes with serious ankle problems return to full activity.”

Dr. Asef added that persistent pain and tenderness after a sprain, especially if the individual felt a ‘pop’ on the outside of the ankle and couldn’t stand tiptoe, might be a warning sign that the tendon is torn or split.  The injury is best diagnosed with an MRI exam.

If you are suffering from ankle issues, the podiatrists’ at North Eastern Ohio Podiatry Group, LLC can help provide the best treatment options for your condition.

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The scope of our practice includes, but is not limited to treating disorders of the foot and ankle, their joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, skin, and other soft tissues. We also treat deformities of a chronic nature, developmental abnormalities, problems of wear and tear in the human foot and ankle, and complications of diabetes and poor circulation
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