“Several new studies in people and animals, however, suggest 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.”

Gretchen Reynolds

"A Sprained Ankle May Have Lifelong Consequences", The New York Times, September 16, 2015

Types of ankle pain

Types of ankle pain

Approximately 8 million people sprain their ankle each year. [1] Because they support the body’s weight, ankles are especially at risk for stress injuries. The most common causes of ankle pain include—

Sprains. Most commonly the result of “rolling” your ankle, sprains happen when the ligaments in your ankle get stretched too far past their normal position. While many sprains heal naturally after a few weeks to a couple of months, having an ankle sprain significantly increases your odds of having another one. [2]

Arthritis. Arthritis happens when the protective layer of cartilage breaks down. This causes the ends of the bones in the ankle to rub against each other painfully.

Bone fractures. Because the bones in your ankle are quite small, they have a higher chance of breaking as a result of stress injuries.

Gout. When uric acid builds up in the body, it can deposit crystals in joints like the ankle, causing sharp pain.

[1] Reynolds, Gretchen. “How to Fix Bad Ankles.” The New York Times. July 8, 2009.

[2] Tiemstra, Jeffrey D. “Update on Acute Ankle Sprains.” American Academy of Family Physicians. June 15, 2012.

Traditional approaches to treating ankle pain

Traditional treatment of ankle pain

Ankle sprains tend to resolve naturally between a few weeks to a couple of months. The standard RICE principle (Rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is recommended by many physicians, with medication, injections, and surgery reserved for more serious ankle injuries.

Anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone shots

While medication and steroid injections can provide temporary relief, cortisone injections can cause new problems by weakening healthy muscles— increasing the odds of another injury. Inflamed tissues are accepted as a permanent situation which must be managed, rather than a fluid state which can be repaired.

Surgery

Ankle surgery may be advisable for certain patients, but it is not without risks. According to a 2009 study, post-operative problems can include residual pain (27-60%), superficial wound complications (up to 14.7%), and deep infections (up to 4.6%). Overall failure rate at 5 years after surgery was reported as 10%. [1] Recovery takes several months, during which time the patient must not put any weight on the affected ankle.

[1] Gougoulias, N., Khanna, A., and Maffulli, N. “How Successful are Current Ankle Replacements?: A Systematic Review of the Literature.” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. July 18, 2009.

“At an average follow-up of 17.7 months, the authors found significant improvements in pain, function, and patient satisfaction. Fukawa et al. administered three PRP injections at two-week intervals to 20 patients with ankle [osteoarthritis]. The authors found significant improvement in pain and function up to 24 weeks after treatment “

Henning, P. and Grear, B.

"Platelet-rich plasma in the foot and ankle", Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine, December 11, 2018

How PRP is different

How PRP is different

Professional athletes have known about PRP therapy for years. Instead of only treating the inflammation, we focus on repairing your ankle’s underlying tissue damage. We take platelets from a sample of your blood, concentrate them into a super-potent serum, and then inject them back into damaged ligaments, tendons, and joints to stimulate the body’s own healing process. When injected, PRP acts as a stem cell magnet, releasing growth factors that attract stem cells to aid in tissue repair and regeneration in the damaged area. A meta-analysis published in 2017 found PRP to be effective in managing osteoarthritic pain. [3]

 A 2014 study found that PRP Therapy could not only prompt non-healing ankle wounds to heal, but patients and athletes in particular could resume their daily routines or sporting activities much faster with significantly less residual pain and ankle instability. [4] Countless professional athletes have used PRP to quickly resolve ankle pain with little to no downtime, and doctors are recognizing PRP for its ability to heal damaged tissues and avoid unnecessary surgery.

[3] Shen, L., Yuan, T., Chen, S., Xie, X., and Zhang, C. “The temporal effect of platelet-rich plasma on pain and physical function in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research. January 2017.

[4] Laver L., Carmont M.R., McConkey M.O., Palmanovich E., Yaacobi E., Mann G., Nyska M., Kots E., Mei-Dan O.”Plasma rich in growth factors (PRGF) as a treatment for high ankle sprain in elite athletes: a randomized control trial.” Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. June 18, 2014.

“I went for a consultation and Dr. Jethani explained everything to me. Since having my PRP shot one month ago, I haven’t had to take a single pain pill. If you don’t have to have surgery, and you can get off of pain pills with PRP, you’d be crazy not to. I have been telling everybody about this.”

Elizabeth S.

Patient

Ankle Pain Stops Here

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