Pain Six Months After an Ankle Sprain? The Problem May Involve Entrapped or Damaged Nerves

lingering pain from ankle sprainAnkle sprains happen at one time or another to almost everyone—from the serious athlete playing their sport competitively to the office worker who simply missteps on an uneven floor. Fortunately, most sprains are fairly minor and heal reasonably quickly.

Of course, if the injury you have suffered is more severe, the road to recovery from an ankle sprain is likely to be longer. Just how much longer depends on a number of different factors. That said, in most cases, you should expect to get back to feeling normal in six months or fewer.

What if you simply don’t feel normal after six months? What if you are still in a substantial amount of pain? Worse, what if your treating physician cannot find anything wrong to explain the pain—let alone treat it effectively? 

That situation can be truly discouraging. After all, we all want to be able to enjoy an active lifestyle without persistent pain. And it can be truly frustrating when a doctor cannot seem to provide any answers (or appears to discount your pain as imaginary or less severe than you claim). Ongoing pain and an inability to find and solve the problem are not experiences anyone would voluntarily choose. 

Happily, there may well be a solution. The persistent pain you are experiencing long after the initial sprain should have healed may be due to an entrapped or damaged nerve.

Overcoming the Trap of Entrapment

When you sprain your ankle, it is possible for a nerve to become compressed against a bone or other tissue. A nerve in that situation is said to be entrapped—and an entrapped nerve is often the cause of ongoing pain or other discomforts. 

Diagnosis and treatment are made more difficult by the fact that the entrapped nerve may not be located in the ankle area at all. You—and your physician—may not realize that a location apart from the ankle was damaged in the initial incident. The entrapment could be at the back or top of the knee or in the foot, for example. Tracking down the problem is the first step to providing relief from the pain.

The Danger of Damage During Nerve Entrapment Surgery

If your ankle injury required surgery, it is possible that a nerve was damaged during the procedure. Nerves may also become entrapped in scar tissue following a surgical procedure. In these cases, the surgery intended to correct the problems caused by the ankle sprain has introduced a new problem. The damaged or entrapped nerve rather than the ankle sprain itself is what must now be addressed.

A Peripheral Nerve Surgeon Can Help

Neither your podiatrist nor your primary care physician may be able to diagnose and treat chronic pain caused by issues of nerve entrapment or damage. To find the relief you need, your next step should be to find a peripheral nerve surgeon who can make the proper diagnosis and has the experience and expertise to address the problem.

Dr. Eric H. Williams is a highly trained and fully certified surgeon whose areas of specialty and expertise include an emphasis on nerve injuries and nerve entrapment. Equally importantly, he treats each patient as an individual and approaches each diagnosis and procedure with his full attention as he seeks to improve the quality of life of every person he treats. 

Contact Our Nerve Pain Specialist Today

To learn more about the causes of and treatment for ankle pain, request our free whitepaper today. And if you have been struggling with pain following an ankle sprain—whether or not you have had surgery—contact us for an appointment. Dr. Williams is ready to help you find relief from your pain—even if other caregivers have been unable to identify the cause and provide a solution. 

Eric H. Williams MD
Specializing in reconstructive surgery and pain relief in the Greater Baltimore area.