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Cure for a sprained ankle?

Q: I am a 31 year old man having a problem in my ankles. Two years back I twisted my left leg ankle while running. It was very painful and I did not know what happened, there was swelling within an hour, and due to office stress I could not go to the doctor and did not take rest also. After 1 week the same pain and swelling was there, so I went to the Ortho specialist and he took an X-ray and said it was a ligament injury. He told me to take some physiotherapy which I have not taken. After 10 days, I hurt the same leg once again. After some time the pain reduced and I was normal. After one year this happened yet again in the same leg ankle. I went to the same doctor again and he diagnosed that, since the earlier injury was not taken care of properly when such an injury needs good rest keeping the leg up for 10 days and all. He told me to do some exercise to build up the ankle strength and it improved. Now the sad thing for me is that the right ankle also went through the same thing last month. This time I took complete 7 days rest and the swelling has come down. This time I consulted a new doctor and he told me to do some exercise. Why is this happening to my ankle, is it because I am careless or because I do not have a strong ankle? What is the permanent remedy? If I walk for a long period I get pain in my leg. I am not comfortable walking for a long time. Does that mean I can not run or play badmittion or anything?

A:First of all, let me assume that the diagnosis made by your doctor is correct. Sprain of the ankle - sprain is a condition in which ligaments that link bone to bone get partially or completely torn. One of the most common injuries around the ankle is a sprain of the outer aspect ligament of the ankle. If inadequately treated or sometimes even when adequately treated it does not heal completely. This makes the ankle vulnerable to recurrent attacks of pain particularly when you are walking on uneven ground. This will happen even if you are careful. So you do not have to blame yourself for your problem. The injury of one ankle does not prevent you from having same injury on the other ankle. Therefore, the same symptoms can come on the other ankle also. Though, you have not mentioned the exact ligament that is injured in your case, I assume that it is the outer ligament. One way to avoid a repeated injury and the associated pain is to have a shoe modification - this should be done in consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon and/or orthotist (a technician who makes attachments to facilitate walking). Rarely the ligament may be so badly damaged, then surgery is the only answer. Occasionally, your injury may be incidental and what you have is a kind of arthritis of joints of the foot. This again will have to be assessed and confirmed by the orthopaedic surgeon.

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