What is the prognosis of recurrent ankle sprains?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Craig C Young, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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If recurrent ankle sprains are treated early and appropriate rehabilitation is initiated, the prognosis is excellent with conservative treatment. [31, 32, 33] The prognosis becomes even more important to consider for patients who require surgical correction. Reconstructive procedures can vary significantly in their ability to correct any persistent instability.

With respect to chronic syndesmotic sprains, long-term outcome studies are few in number. In a study conducted at West Point, all patients who were studied returned to full duty without further problems. One of these patients was surgically treated, and all had full ROM of the ankle. [34]

In 6 cases of frank diastasis over 4- to 60-month follow-up, 4 cases had good results, and 2 had fair results in that the patients had residual mild ankle pain and restricted ROM, according to Edwards and DeLee. There was 1 case of postoperative skin slough that healed uneventfully, and 1 fixation device failed. [35]

In 5 patients with subacute or chronic syndesmotic injury, all of the affected ankles achieved fusion with no complications within 10 weeks, in a study by Katznelson et al. Each patient was treated with operative stabilization and bone grafting to the tibiofibular joint, which formed a synostosis. One patient developed traumaticosteoporosis that resolved in 6 months; this patient had mild loss of dorsiflexion. [36]

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