Posts for tag: Sprained Ankle
An ankle sprain occurs when the foot rolls or twists to the point where a ligament inside stretches beyond its normal capacity. Ankle sprains are extremely common, with an estimated 25,000 sprains happening in the United States every day. Athletes and people who work outdoors or on uneven surfaces are at a higher risk for spraining their ankle. Regular wear of high-heeled shoes is also a risk factor.
Sprained ankles are diagnosed by degree; that is, the severity of the sprain and the symptoms it produces. Grade 1 sprains are the mildest, with minimal swelling and tenderness due to a slight ligament tear. Usually, Grade 1 sprains still allow for weight to be put on the ankle. Grade 2 sprains have a more significant injury to the ligament and, while walking may still be possible, it is painful. Grade 3 sprains are diagnosed when the affected ligament has sustained a complete tear and the ankle cannot bear weight. Grade 3 sprains typically display obvious bruising and swelling around the ankle.
The grade of an ankle sprain will determine the treatment. The tried-and-true RICE method - rest, ice, compression, and elevation - is usually sufficient for Grade 1 sprains. Refraining from walking, keeping the ankle elevated for the first two days, stabilizing the ankle with a compression dressing, and applying ice to reduce swelling helps the sprain resolve within 2 to 4 weeks. Grade 2 sprains also respond well to RICE treatment, although healing typically takes longer and a firmer immobilization device, like a splint, is typically recommended. Grade 3 sprains often require similar treatment used for ankle fractures; a cast or brace may be needed and surgery may be considered for some patients.
To ensure proper healing, it is important to follow the recommendations of your podiatrist. Attempting to return to normal activity too soon could result in a repeat injury or permanent ankle instability.
Have you ever twisted your ankle while participating in a sport? Or maybe you simply slipped while walking? Either way, ankle sprains, and fractures should not be ignored. Ankle sprains are common injuries that occur when ligaments are stretched or torn, with nearly 85% occurring laterally or on the outside of the ankle joints. By visiting your podiatrist, you can receive the care you need to get back on your feet.
Symptoms of a Sprained or Fractured Ankle
Your symptoms upon spraining your ankle may vary depending on the severity of your pain and how it occurred. The symptoms of an ankle sprain may include:
- Pain or soreness
- Difficulty walking
- Stiffness in the joint
All ankle sprains will produce some level of pain at the time of your injury and the joint will also feel tender, beginning to swell. If your sprain is mild, you may experience a slight loss in the function of your joint.
With a more serious sprain, you will most likely fall during the initial impact of the injury. It will often be difficult to move or put weight on your injured ankle, producing bruising and swelling from the ankle to the foot. Once you have had ankle sprains or other ankle injuries before, you may have a weakened joint that creates more of a chance for future injuries to take place.
Common symptoms of an ankle fracture are similar to ankle sprains, and include:
- Pain to touch
- Inability to walk on the leg
- Deformity around the ankle
Treatment and Prevention
Treatment for your ankle sprain begins with self-care. The RICE evaluation is highly recommended upon the initial onset of your injury:
When your podiatrist feels you are ready to begin participating in sports and exercising, you can help prevent further sprains and fractures by wearing an ankle brace during the first initial months of being back on your ankle. Special wraps are also available to protect your ankle.
If your symptoms still persist after taking the initial step of at-home-care, or if you suspect you might have a fracture, a visit to your podiatrist may be in order. With a consultation at our practice, your ankle sprain or fracture can be treated and further prevented. There is no need to put an end to your athletic lifestyle with recurring ankle injuries.