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What Do I Do When My Ankle Won’t Properly Heal?

When ankle injuries don’t heal properly it can lead to chronic ankle instability and pain. After your current treatment plan fails, adjustments need to be made and some patients need to undergo torn ligament ankle surgery for relief. 

Treating Injured Ankle Heals Properly

With the right treatment plan such as rest, ice, elevation, and compression, mild ankle sprains usually can heal on their own within two to twelve weeks. Of course, it all depends on the severity of your ankle injury and the level of pain and instability you are experiencing. 

Ankle Heals Properly

Once you are able to put weight on your foot comfortably and remain stable with no pain is usually a sign that your ankle is healed. If your ankle is still feeling weak and painful, your ankle will most likely need additional treatment.  

Dealing with Persistent Pain

Damage to the interior bones, ligaments, and cartilage can cause the ankle to not heal properly. Scar tissue or trapped fluid can also cause persistent pain.

A visit to your foot specialist to undergo physical imaging and diagnostics is needed to find the proper treatment plan as every injury is different. You need to first find the cause and identify a treatment plan after proper evaluation. 

Common Injuries

Sports injuries are some of the most common ankle injuries that need extra treatment to fully heal. Playing sports, skiing, and snowboarding can often cause ankle fractures. This is usually a discrete break in the talus bone. To avoid pain and disability, surgery is likely required. 

Cartilage fractures can cause deep pain that might need extra treatment such as physical therapy and other non-surgical options

A tendon injury causes nagging pain on the side and back of the ankle. If left untreated it can cause torn tendons. Patients should try wearing a brace and attend physical therapy to find relief. 

Ankle ligament injuries are very common. Patients with a history of ankle pain and ankle stability for months or who experience injuries that linger could lead to the tearing of ligaments. 

Patients should try to wear a brace and attend physical therapy if the pain persists, surgery is needed. 

Treatment Plan

Ankle ligament reconstruction surgery helps restore stability in the ankle if previous treatments have not worked. Patients should undergo six months of treatment first before considering surgery. After failed treatment, surgery might be the right path. 

At the Foot and Ankle Center of Arizona, there are two options when undergoing lateral ankle ligament reconstruction surgery, tendon reconstruction or the Brostrom-Gould technique. 

Both procedures are pretty similar and require just a small incision along the outside of the ankle. Your doctor will be able to decide which option is best for you. 

During the Brostrom-Gould technique, this tightens the ligaments in the ankle by the use of stitches or placing anchors in the fibula bone. 

Once the surgery is complete, the incision is close with dissolving suture placed under the skin and a splint is applied. 

A few days after surgery, the patient must wear a cast for three to four weeks and can expect full recovery around six to twelve months, and physical therapy is always recommended. 

The Foot and Ankle Center of Arizona If you have been suffering from a lingering ankle injury, the Foot and Ankle Center of Arizona offer surgical and non-surgical treatment plans. We are known for our effective care and specialize in a variety of treatment options using only the finest medical equipment. To find relief and receive the proper treatment, schedule an appointment with the Foot and Ankle Center of Arizona today.


Dr. Kris Dinucci