What exactly would be a Sprained Ankle?
The ankle joint joins your foot to your lower leg. Your ankle bones are held in place by three ligaments. A sprained ankle occurs if one of these ligaments is overstretched or ruptured.
Ankle sprains are classified by severity by doctors:
- Mild (grade I): Your ligaments have been strained but are not ruptured. Your ankle is still stable. You may experience discomfort and stiffness.
- Moderate (grade II): A ligament or ligament is partially ripped. The joint is not entirely stable, and you cannot move it as freely as you used to. You have moderate edoema and soreness.
- Severe (grade III): Your ankle is unstable because one or more ligaments are completely ripped. You are in a lot of agonies and are unable to move the ankle.
The symptoms and signs of an ankle sprain differ based on the extent of the injury. They could include:
- Pain, particularly when bearing weight on the affected foot
- Tenderness when rubbing the ankle
- Limited range of motion
- The ankle is unstable.
- At the time of the injury, there is a popping sensation or sound.
Causes of Ankle Sprain
A sprain happens when your ankle is forced to move out of its natural position, causing one or more of the ligaments in your ankle to strain, partially tear, or total tear.
Sprained ankles can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- A tumble that twists your ankle
- Landing on your foot awkwardly after jumping or turning
- Walking or working out over an uneven surface
- During a sporting event, another person steps or lands on your foot.
The following factors enhance your chances of a sprained ankle:
- Participation in sports: Ankle sprains are a common sports injury, especially in activities that demand to jump, cutting, rolling, or twisting of the foot, such as basketball, tennis, football, soccer, and trail running.
- Surface irregularities: Ankle sprains can be exacerbated by walking or jogging on uneven surfaces or in bad field conditions
- An ankle injury in the past: You’re more prone to sprain your ankle again if you have previously sprained it or suffered another form of an ankle injury.
- Physically deficient: When participating in sports, poor ankle strength or flexibility may increase the risk of sprain.
- Incorrect footwear: High-heeled shoes, as well as shoes that do not fit well or are not ideal for an activity, render ankles more sensitive to damage.
Failure to appropriately treat an injured ankle, performing tasks too soon after spraining your ankle, or spraining your ankle frequently may result in the following complications:
- Ankle discomfort that persists
- Instability of the ankle joint on a regular basis
- Ankle arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects the ankle joint.
Ankle Sprain Diagnosis
Your doctor will try to rule out any possibility of a broken bone or other serious injuries. They will move your foot and ankle to determine which bones are impacted and to ensure that your nerves and arteries are not injured. They will also look to see if your Achilles tendon, which runs down the back of your ankle, is torn.
X-rays may be used to check if you have fractures. If the sprain is severe, your doctor may prescribe additional imaging tests, such as:
- MRI: This can create images of inside organs to indicate torn ligaments, broken cartilage, bone chips, and other issues.
- Ultrasound: This shows your doctor how your ligament appears when you move your ankle.
- The CT (Computerised Tomography) scan: This procedure employs X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of your bones.
Sprained Ankle Treatment at Home
Doctors advise RICE:
- Rest prevents further injury to the ankle or stress on inflamed tissue. A brace or splint helps relieve joint pressure.
- Ice is the most effective treatment. Apply it to your ankle to reduce blood flow and relieve edoema, redness, and warmth. If done soon after an accident, it can help prevent inflammation.
- Compression can help to reduce swelling. Apply an elastic bandage or wrap to the affected area until the swelling subsides. Always begin wrapping at the farthest point from your heart. Do not wrap so tightly that the blood flow is choked off.
- Elevation (raising the wounded location as high as possible) will aid your body’s ability to absorb excess fluid. It is better to elevate your ankle over your heart, like in a reclining chair.
Anti-inflammatory pain relievers lessen pain and swelling. Most people benefit from over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen. If you have any other medical conditions or are on any other medications, consult your doctor first.
If the sprain is serious or you are not getting better within a week, you should consult a doctor. They may put you in a brace or cast to keep your ankle still. Crutches can help you keep your weight off it. If you have a serious sprain, schedule a follow-up appointment 1 or 2 weeks later to ensure you are healing properly and to determine whether you need physical therapy to improve your flexibility and strength.
Mild to moderate sprains normally do not necessitate surgery. You may have it if your sprain is severe, or you are at a higher risk of spraining it again because you participate in a lot of sports.
Sprained Ankle Treatment
A sprained ankle is more likely to be injured again, so do everything you can to reduce your risk:
- Maintain the strength and flexibility of your ankles. Discuss strengthening workouts with your doctor or physical therapist.
- Wear appropriate footwear for the activity. Choose solid ankle-supporting shoes, like high-top basketball shoes.
- If you participate in sports, you may wish to tape up a weak ankle for added support. If you have had more than one sprain, talk to your doctor about getting a brace.
Make sure there are no holes or impediments on the playing field or court. Remove any barriers or trip hazards from your home and yard.
When should you see your doctor?
Contact your doctor if your symptoms are not moderate or improving quickly after the incident. When your swelling and pain are extreme, or if your ankle feels numb or will not support weight, he or she might want to see you right away. He or she will inspect and manipulate the ankle and foot to determine the type of sprain and the level of injury. This exam may be postponed for a few days until the swelling and pain have subsided; during the meantime, continue with the RICE routine.
X-rays are not commonly utilized to diagnose ankle injuries. Most ankle discomfort is caused by ligament issues, which are not visible on standard x-rays. Clinicians utilize the Ottawa ankle rules, named after the Canadian team that established them, to identify areas of the foot where pain, sensitivity, and inability to bear weight imply a fracture. According to a study of research involving over 15,000 patients, the Ottawa guidelines correctly identified individuals having ankle fractures over 95% of the time.
How to strengthen an ankle following a sprain
To effectively heal from an ankle sprain, you must restore your ankle joint’s natural range of motion and strengthen its ligaments and supporting muscles. Studies have indicated that when people’s therapy focuses on recovering ankle function typically with the help of splints, braces, tape, or elastic bandages rather than immobility, they return to their normal activities sooner (such as the use of a plaster cast). This strategy, known as a functional treatment, typically consists of three phases: the RICE regimen in the first 24 hours to reduce pain, swelling, and the risk of further injury; range-of-motion and ankle strengthening exercises within 48-72 hours and training to improve endurance and balance once recovery has begun.
In general, you can start range-of-motion and stretching exercises within the initial 48 hours and should continue until you are pain-free as before your sprain. Begin with exercising while sitting on a chair or on the ground. You can graduate to standing exercises while your damaged ankle heals. If your symptoms do not improve within two to four weeks, you should consult a physical therapist or other professional.
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