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Chronic Ankle Sprain... Suggestions for home treatment?

Long story, I'll start at the very beginning though.  Many years ago after a back injury, and it's subsequent treatment, I developed a rather interesting problem.  It ended up with me not doing anything drastic (as I was still recovering from my back injury.)  I was not active, still in recovery, so dancing, hiking, or anything like that was out of the question. Ultimately my only actual exercise besides therapy was walking to places like the restroom and to the car for my doctor appointments.  I developed massive swelling in my right ankle, not my leg though, only the ankle, and any weight bearing was almost intolerable.  I didn't have any notable trauma, besides the mechanism that injured my back and that was quite a while before the ankle thing sprung up.  

So, off to the ER for a quick visit I figured for a mild to moderate sprain (maybe grade II), my neighbor was a triage nurse at the local hospital, and suggested that I go get it checked out anyways.  So, I get there, can't even walk to the door, so I wheel myself in on a courtesy wheelchair.  Explain my symptoms, etc, and wait a short while, I get a room, and the doctor starts examining me, asking alot more questions.  And then tells me "It doesn't appear to be a sprain, we're going to have to admit you for cellulitis."  Now at this point, I am insanely curious how that came about.  No fever, no nausea, nothing so much as remotely similar to cellulitis, except the swelling and tenderness.  A week of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and bed rest with my leg elevated, and I was almost good to go.  Some mild leftover stiffness, but he explained that would subside as there was still swelling in the foot.

About a year later, the same symptoms, the same everything, even the same ER doctor (curse my luck.)  The same questions.  Then "did you know you have a rash on the back side of your right leg?"  Yeah, I ended up allergic to one of my new cats and thats where she always rubs against my leg.  A few tests later, It was apparent to him that it was DVT, and that I was a stroke possibility, instantly admitted again... A week later with bedrest and such, and I was in great shape!  Not so much as a request for a follow up with any other doctor this time.

This pattern has been happening pretty much in 6-12 month cycles.  I can tell you when it happens most often is winter/early spring time when theres a foot of snow on the ground and walking is treacherous.  And in summer when I spend most of my time outdoors walking or just relaxing on the front porch.  Now, it happened again recently, on a walk to the corner store, something popped, and I made it home okay, but it was again, incredibly painful.  I've noticed a lack of stability, as well as other things, like the occasional popping in my ankle, followed by brief swelling but rarely pain. I saw an ortho recently about it, and the words "Chronic ankle sprain" suddenly came into the discussion.  We talked about options (ultimately surgery if it becomes too severe), and treatment plans, and I was told basically treat it as a regular sprain, R.I.C.E., hot water eventually after swelling decreases, and then exercise/rehab planning.  I have no insurance, and just the ortho appt set me back quite a sum.  But i was supplied with bandages, and given a full timeline of how things should progress with recovery, with an estimate of a "full/partial recovery" in upwards of 4-6 weeks, sometimes up to 3 times longer depending on other factors because it's now a chronic thing.  

The biggest problem is this, I basically am responsible for taking care of the entire household, work is a non-issue at this point, so not worried about that.  I only need attend a few doctor appointments now and then (2x monthly) for my back problems, but I do all of the cooking, cleaning, changing the litter boxes, and household things.  I can't afford to be down for what could be 12+ weeks easily for a repetitive injury like this.  Can anyone think of anything to help the situation?  Home therapies to help alleviate pain, etc.  I'm semi permanently attached to my ace bandages and ankle brace (helps for daily stuff.)  But aside from babying it, resting, etc.  Does anyone know of how to help prevent this from going on? (short of a surgery that i dont think anyone can afford out of pocket).

Thanks for reading my book of an explanation.

Just a few tidbits too, on the location and severity of the pain.
The popping was on the upper inside of the ankle (my right ankle).
The pain is the entire underside of the ankle, as well as the outside edge of my foot and on top of the outside of the ankle.
Walking is painful, even properly supported, but to some degree is required (nature calls, etc).
1 Responses
1271743 tn?1320896061
Ankle fusion would provide stability but you would not be able to bend that ankle ever again...  if your ankle is not correctly treated it will cause you to walk with a limp and result in additional back pain.  I would make sure to get a second opinion from two different doctors. Good luck... keep us posted.
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