Why Your Ankle Cracks after Sprain and Treatments

Ankle injuries are a lot more common than most people give them credit for. And among those injuries, sprains are the ones that dominate the statistics. These injuries are the ones where strain or tearing of one’s ankle ligaments occurs, making movement very difficult. Sometimes, the loosening of the ligaments leads to people experiencing ‘popping’ or ‘cracking’ sounds or sensations, which are nothing but excessive movements of the bones due to the stretching or weakening of the ligaments surrounding them.

Why Does Your Ankle Crack after Sprain?

Ankle cracking after sprain generally happens with people who have experienced multiple ankle sprains in the past, and this is because their ankle joints have become unstable. Why? Because the constant wear and tear on your ligaments eventually wears them down, loosening and weakening them, making it impossible for them to go back to their original condition. This also makes your ankle bones snap back into position, which in turn leads to cracking or popping of the bones.

How Is It Diagnosed?

If ankle cracking after sprain occurs, then immediately fix an appointment with your doctor. Self diagnosis is not an option, especially seeing how professional help will be required in order to get your ankle back to normal. The doctor will physically examine your ankles in order to check for instability during movement, as well as any swelling in the surrounding area. She may also demand an X-ray in order to be 100% sure about the condition of your sprained ankle. You will also be required to answer questions regarding any previous injuries you may have suffered on your ankle, as that may affect your level of treatment.

How Is It Treated?

Nonsurgical Treatment

Depending on the severity of your ankle sprain, one or more of the following nonsurgical treatments may be advised by your doctor:

  • Physical therapy: This may be advised in cases of both severe or light ankle sprain/injuries. Herein, the patient has to do several exercises aimed specifically at the increased movement of their ankles. These exercises are performed strictly under the guidance of a professional therapist, which are altered according to how well (or poorly) one’s ankles are adapting to the exercises. Those into sports receive special training that helps restore their muscle training, improve their balance and strengthen their ankles.
  • Bracing: In certain cases when ankle cracking after sprain occurs, movement becomes restricted, due to excessive pain and/or swelling. In such cases, patients are made to wear braces made specifically for the ankles, in order to provide them additional support. The braces also prevent their ankles from turning and giving them additional pain, as well as preventing future sprains from occurring.
  • Medicine: Sometimes, people experience a high amount of inflammation/swelling or pain around their ankle areas, in which case their doctors prescribe NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to help ease their suffering.

Surgical Treatments

In extreme cases of ankle injuries, especially in the case of sports persons, surgery is often recommended. This is because their injuries cannot be treated with mere physical therapy or over the counter drugs, especially if previous treatments haven’t been successful or if the ligaments have been heavily damaged.

  • Ankle Arthroscopy

Two incisions on the wither side of the front your ankle joint. One incision is used to insert a camera, which helps the doctors understand the condition of the ankle, as well as help them determine the best procedure possible for repair. The joint is then cleaned of scar tissues, loose cartilage and inflammation, which hinder the growth of newer and stronger muscles. In certain cases, if the ligaments haven’t stretched beyond a certain point, then they can be tightened so that their former elasticity is restored. This is done by inserting an instrument which helps tighten or shrink said ligaments.

The second incision is used for instruments to be placed within the ankle that help encourage the repair of the muscles and ligaments. This procedure is almost non-invasive, and the sooner such an injury can be operated upon, the quicker the patient is able to walk normally.

  • Lateral Ankle Stabilization

However, in certain cases when one experiences ankle cracking after sprain, due to torn ligaments that are beyond repair, there is no other alternative except direct surgery. Here, one incision is created on the outer ankle, through which the main three ligaments connecting your ankle bones, are inspected. The ones that can be tightened or repaired are tightened or repaired, and the process for this is exactly like the cleaning process mentioned above – by removing damaged ligament and unnecessary particles that may hinder the growth of new muscles.

In certain cases, doctors use specially made anchoring instruments which help anchor one’s ligaments back to their ankle bones. Usually in such cases, the anchored ligaments grow into better and stronger versions of their original selves. However, if in case no repair can be done to ligaments that are damaged beyond repair, ligaments donated from other individuals are used to encourage the growth of new ligaments.

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