What is an ankle sprain?
An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments in the ankle. Ankle sprains remain one of the most common injuries to individuals with over 25,000 injuries happening daily. These injuries typically result from a fall, sudden twists or a blow force to the ankle out of his normal position. These injuries typically occur while participating in sports, walking or running on uneven surfaces. In some cases ankle sprains occur in individuals who have been born with conditions that make him more prone to ankle sprains. Some sprains are worse than others and the severity of the ankle sprain depends on whether a ligament is stretched, partially torn or completely torn. Ankle sprains can occur in the setting of ankle fractures as well.
What are some symptoms?
- Pain or soreness
- Difficulty walking
- Stiffness in the joint
- Inability to bear weight
Typically patients report pain after having twisted an ankle. This usually occurs during an inversion injury which means the foot rolls inward underneath the ankle or leg. Patients will report pain on the outside of their ankles and have varying degrees of swelling and bruising. In some cases that are more severe, patients will be unable to bear weight on that foot. There are groups of the start individuals who have the predisposition to ankle sprain, most common of these people have a high arched foot which makes it easier to turn on the ankle.
Ligaments are structures that connect bone to bone, and the ankle has multiple ligaments. In ankle sprains there are several more commonly sprained ligaments. These ligaments include the ATFL also known as the anterior talofibular ligament, the CFL also known as the calcaneofibular ligament. The PTFL also known as posterior talofibular ligament is less commonly injured. There is also a more severe ankle sprain which is known as a high ankle sprain which involves the ligaments connecting the tibia to the fibula.
Ankle sprains are fairly common injuries and can be easily diagnosed. It is important not to simply regarding the injury as an ankle sprain because other injuries can occur as well. It is recommended that you see your foot and ankle surgeon for a thorough examination. Even in situations where severe ankle sprain has occurred, the ligaments will likely heal without the need for surgery if treated appropriately. The grade of the sprain will determine the treatment. More severe sprains can put you at risk for permanent loosening of the ankle resulting in instability if not treated appropriately. It is recommended to follow immediate R.I.C.E therapy guidelines following an ankle sprain.
REST: Rest your ankle by not walking on it until you can do it comfortably this really require a boot or a lace up brace
ICE: Ice it to keep the swelling down. Do not put ice directly on the skin. Use a thin piece of cough between the ice and your skin and place the ice pack behind your knee as the blood flowing down will help cool the area. Do not ice more than 20 minutes at a time to avoid frostbite.
COMPRESSION: Compression bandages help keep the swelling down which can help with pain and improve recovery.
You should see your foot and ankle surgeon immediately after a sprain has occurred to help properly diagnose you and provide the appropriate treatments needed. Make an appointment today with Dr. Jonathan Pajouh to further discuss treatment options and which treatment option best fits you.