Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Ankle FAQ

Question:

I notice my left ankle "twinges" with certain movements like when I walk on a slanted surface or step down off a curb. Does this mean I am spraining my ankle over and over? I sprained it really badly about a year ago.

Answer:

Your ankle is designed to recognize even the tiniest movement and let your brain know what's happening. Then your brain tells the joint how to adjust its speed and direction. This process is called proprioception.

Damage to the joint capsule and/or surrounding tendons or muscles from a sprain can also damage your proprioception. The twinges you feel may occur because of a delayed message relay system, a weak muscle around the joint, or both. Recurrent ankle sprains result in pain, swelling, and loss of motion.

The "twinges" may be a signal that your proprioception isn't working well. This puts you at risk for another ankle sprain. Current thinking is that a rehab program can help restore joint proprioception and prevent another injury.

Arienne de Jong, MSc, et al. Performance in Different Proprioceptive Tests Does Not Correlate in Ankles with Recurrent Sprain. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. November 2005. Vol. 86. No. 11. Pp. 2101-2105.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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