sprained ankle not healed after almost 17 weeks?

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i injured my ankle playing soccer on July 23rd. I tripped and it kind of folded under me and i heard a crack and it immediately started swelling and got stiff, but i kept playing, even though every step hurt. it never really swelled up that much, which was a little weird to me, considering i have sprained that same ankle probably 3 times before and it swelled more all of those times. this time probably hurt the worst of all the times i have sprained it. 

after i hurt it, i played for 3 more days (not the best idea, i know but it was very important to me to play), but then i took 3 weeks off and did nothing. there was not a lot of improvement in that time, but i could not take more time off because my high school soccer season started right away. so now, here i am, with the same kind of pain as 15 weeks ago, and i don't know what to do... i haven't gone to the doctor, mostly because i'm afraid of being told not to play for a while, but i cant do that...

any advice or opinions is greatly appreciated! 

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    I would go to A&E and have it checked out ..u could always try ice pack in it I broke and dislocated my ankle and had 2 ops and now got a plate in I've damaged alit of nerves to been off work since June .. My swells and gets pains where I can't walk and they told me to put ice packs on and lift it up high and rest ..

    • Posted

      I broke my ankle in June aswell, have got a plate and screws.  My ankle swells up and it hurts when I walk.  Do you do any exercises as the moment ?  Ice packs and lifting the foot up is a good idea.
  • Posted

    Hi Jen,  I did similar when I was in my teens and I too kept on playing immediately after the injury and through to the end of the season. I had multiple twists and sprains and when I was 19 I had to have corrective surgery because of the lateral instability.  Roll forward 25 years and I developed osteoarthritis in that ankle and now, age 55, I've just had the ankle joint fused.  PLEASE go and get your ankle examined and stop playing until the doctors say it is ok.  

    My Physio has told me that my ankles have a natural skeletal propensity to over inversion - i.e. "to go over on it" and you might have similar.  If you do then you may need to wear an ankle brace when playing, or do special strengthening exercises to minimise the risk.  Either way, get some medical advice as soon as you can.

  • Posted

    Please go and get an x-ray to rule out a broken bone. The "heard a snap" part concerns me. That sounds similar to what happened to me when I rolled over on my ankle while hiking and fell into a pothole on the trail. I too heard a snap and had an instant swelling. I could walk on it, but not well... I hiked 3 kilometers, kayaked for 6 hours, hiked up a muddy hill in the dark (800 meters) and then drove home (3 hours). I walked (limped) into the ER the next day and was surprised to learn I had a stable Weber A fibula fracture. 

    If you don't have a fracture, you can ask to start physio asap. Since you are an athlete, make sure you ask for a sports physio therapist and not a regular one. They understand the needs of athletes to get back into performance shape and will work with you so you can miss as little of your season as possible. Usually this type of PT is accessed via private healthcare (I'm in Canada - I pay for my sessions and get a partial reimbursement through my employer health care plan, but I would go even if I had to pay 100%... it is worth it). I am seeing a sports med PT and I love them! She worked with my crazy goal of getting back into very gentle terrain hiking at 8 weeks post fracture (I go three times a week and am on the advanced exercises now... started at 6 weeks). If you work hard in PT you can make amazing gains and strengthen your ankles to hopefully prevent future sprains.

    Good luck and keep us posted!


  • Posted

    Hi Jen,

    It sounds like you now have chronic ankle instability in injured ankle-- likely because you had already sprained it 3 times before (I assume you had lateral ankle sprains where ligaments and tissue on outside of ankle are mostly affected).

    A snap or popping sound during an ankle sprain is not uncommon, and is not necessarily indicative of bones breaking. Still, be smart and and have a doctor rule out possibility of fractures, even if minor.

    Continuing to engage in demanding sports activity with a still painful ankle is unwise. You are tempting disaster if your ankle is highly compromised. The risk is  that involved ligaments, tendons, etc. did not heal from this time and earlier sprains== this can lead to chronic ankle instability and poor walking biomechanics.

    Later consequences of that can be, among other things, cartilage destruction, which results in joint instability leading to arthritis, which can eventually end up requiring ankle surgery like fusion or ankle replacement. This forum is replete with sad stories of such end states of an earlier ankle injury.

    Please give your injury your earnest attention and concern. Since the pain is now chronic you know what you have to do-- seek urgent medical care. Carolyn is correct in saying you need to see a sports injury specialist that deals with your type of injury every day. A GP or ordinary ortho doctor would not necessarily be as skillful or knowledgeable about these things.

    Good luck to you.

  • Posted


    I cannot emphasise enough how much you should see a doc - being out for 1 season is nothing compared to not being able to walk for the rest of your life comfortably.

    I am in a similar situation where I did not go see a doc for almost 4months because I was afraid and the results are not good - it is much more scary later. 

    See a doc asap and keep us posted when you do so we know you've done it!



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