THURSDAY, June 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Many Americans have suffered through an ankle break or sprain, but new research suggests these injuries might have a larger effect on health.
The study can’t prove cause-and-effect, but it points to the importance of proper rehabilitation after such injuries, the researchers said.
“What is concerning is these differences are presenting across the life span — especially during the critical middle age years when our risk for these diseases begins to increase,” said study author Phillip Gribble. He’s an associate professor in the department of rehabilitation sciences at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington.
In the study, Gribble’s team conducted an online survey of over 3,500 adults. More than 1,800 of them said they had sustained some kind of ankle injury at some point in their lives.
Those who’d had such injuries were more likely to say they were “somewhat” to “completely” limited in their daily activities compared to people without such histories, at 46 percent vs. 36 percent, respectively. Rates of moderate to severe body pain were also higher (38 percent vs. about 27 percent).
The study also found higher rates of heart or respiratory ailments in people who’d injured their ankle versus those who hadn’t (about 31 percent vs. 24.5 percent, respectively).
Not surprisingly, arthritis of the ankle was also much more likely among those who previously injured the joint (9.4 percent) compared to those who hadn’t (1.8 percent), Gribble’s team found.
Overall, the findings suggest that ankle breaks and strains should be taken more seriously, the researchers said.
“This is not just a problem for athletes, as a large percentage of the population reports chronic ankle issues,” he noted. “Better efforts are needed to prevent the initial injuries, and also to introduce improved interventions post-injury, to reduce the high rate of chronicity we see in ankle injury patients.”