The key message here is not to ignore a twisted ankle. See your local doctor or a physiotherapist who can properly assess, treat and rehabilitate you and your injury.
Everyone has sprained their ankle once, twice or even a few times. We have healed and recovered from the injury, returning to normal everyday activities. What if the consequences of a twisted ankle actually go beyond the week-or-so of tenderness felt by the injured?
“…that the effects of even a single sprained ankle could be more substantial and lingering than we have supposed, potentially altering how well and often someone moves, for life… three new studies, each co-authored by Dr. Hubbard-Turner, raise serious questions about whether ankle sprains are really so benign.”
Gretchen Reynolds for the New York Times investigated emerging studies that look at the lifelong impact of a sprained or twisted ankle. The original article was published on the 16th of September, 2015 on the New York Times website.
Dr Hubbard-Turner is a professor of kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The results of the recent studies have been both surprising and worrying:
“In the most worrying, since it involves young people, she and her colleagues recruited 20 college students with chronic ankle instability — a condition caused by ankle sprains, in which the ankle easily gives way during movement — and 20 healthy students and asked all of them to wear a pedometer for a week. The researchers controlled for variables like sex, B.M.I. and general health.”
On average, participants with chronic ankle instability took 2000 less steps every day than the control group with no ankle instability. That could add to around 5km less walked every week than their healthy counterparts. These results confirmed Hubbard-Turner’s previous studies on rodents, who had lasting decreased mobility post ankle injury.
“They found that the repercussions of a single ankle sprain lingered throughout the animals’ lives. The mice that had experienced a mild sprain in young adulthood generally continued to run less and more slowly throughout their lives than the animals that had undergone sham surgery, and those that had experienced a severe ankle sprain ran even fewer miles and at the slowest speeds.”