Scar tissue and ankle injuries go hand in hand. Scar tissue can form when you damage healthy tissue anywhere on your body. Tougher, fiber-like tissue grows in the place of normal tissue as the body attempts to keep everything strong.
Scar tissue might not bother you at first, but it can eventually cause these symptoms:
- A loss of range of motion
“From major injuries to ankle sprains, twists or rolls, any stretch or tear of a ligament in your ankle can cause scar tissue,” Rachelle Metz, MD, (pictured above, right), an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine in our Lorain market, shares. “While this scar tissue can be helpful at first to stabilize your ankle post injury, ultimately, it can get worse over time and even impact your ability to walk.”
Luckily, there are things you can do to manage your old scar tissue and keep your ankles healthy. Dr. Metz breaks down some of these tips.
Scar tissue can keep blood from flowing well around your ankle, and a massage can improve circulation. Your doctor or physical therapist may do it themselves or send you to a massage therapist. You may even be able to do some self-massage at home if it’s giving you trouble.
Compression stockings and wraps
These items can be found at your local pharmacy and improve blood circulation in your ankles while helping relieve pain. When worn regularly, they can even reduce inflammation and break down scar tissue in your joint.
Injections like Botox and corticosteroids can relax your muscle while helping relieve discomfort and swelling around the painful area. If you’re struggling with scar tissue and corresponding discomfort, talk to your doctor about what options work best for you.
Physical therapy, stretches and exercises
A combination of stretches and exercises can help prevent more scar tissue from forming and improve ankle mobility. Joint-mobilization techniques are available, as well as other treatments. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist and come up with a plan that is best for you, whether that’s physical therapy sessions, stretching at home or a combination of both.
If you have lots of scar tissue in your ankle and other treatments have not worked, you may need surgery to repair the area. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that removes scar tissue and has a quicker recovery time. Consult with your doctor and talk through the best course of action for your injury.
“If you think you’re suffering from painful or limiting scar tissue, reach out to an orthopedic or sports medicine doctor for an evaluation,” Dr. Metz says. “They can help you determine the best next steps to help you loosen your scar tissue with the goal of increasing mobility and reducing any pain.”
Learn more about the sports medicine services offered at Mercy Health.