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I tore ankle ligaments during the last game of my summer softball league. Will I have to have surgery? Are there other treatment options?

“You may have options because not all ligament tears require surgery,” says Christina Walker, M.D., a board-certified physician specializing in Orthopedics-Sports Medicine at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “In many cases, wearing an ankle brace or walking cast, in conjunction with a rehabilitation regimen, is sufficient for healing and recovery.”

Except for sprains, Dr. Walker says that torn ligaments is probably the most commonly occurring sports-related ankle injury she treats.

“With the goal of getting patients back to their pre-injury performance levels, my treatment tends toward a more conservative, non-invasive approach, such as putting a patient in a brace or walking cast to help prevent an additional injury while the ligaments heal,” she says.

Dr. Walker says the ankle is weakened in the immediate post-injury period, and using crutches may be an option in the early stages of recovery. Then, after an interval of rest, she usually suggests a program of physical therapy that includes exercises to strengthen and improve mobility.

“With the care and guidance of a Sports Medicine specialist, you have reason to be optimistic about your recovery and getting back to softball before the season ends,” advises Dr. Walker, who welcomes new patients at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Downtown at The Shops.