What You Need To Know About Ankle Sprain: A Full Guide


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Perhaps you landed too hard as you jumped to catch a football. Maybe you stepped into a deep hole and twisted your ankle. You may be the youngest of persons who have an ankle sprain. This injury occurs when the ligaments in your ankle break or become too strained.

Ligaments are the tough, elastic bands that keep your ankle stable. They keep your ankle bones together while allowing for some flexibility. The risk of a sprain increases when there is too much movement.

Believe it or not, ankle sprains are the most common injury. Sprains are most often caused by rolling your foot on the outside of the ankle. It causes the ligament on the outside of your ankle to extend beyond its limitations.

What Is An Ankle Sprain?

By rotating or rolling your ankle, you’re likely to have a sprained ankle. It may cause the tight bands of tissue (ligaments) that keep your ankle bones together to strain or rip.

Ligaments help in the stabilization of joints, avoiding excessive movement. Sprained ankles happen when the ligaments are pushed beyond their usual range of motion. Ankle ligament injury is responsible for most sprained ankle injuries.

Depending on the level of the sprained ankle, there is a range of treatment options. Although self-care and over-the-counter pain pills may suffice, a medical assessment may be necessary to identify how seriously you’ve sprained your ankle and the recommended therapy.

Make sure that whenever you have an ankle sprain, you are getting it tested and diagnosed by doctors. This is because you might think that this is just an ankle sprain, but it can also be an ACL tear. If that is the case, you will have to go for ACL surgery in Singapore. Ankle sprains should not be taken lightly and be always checked out by professionals.

What Causes An Ankle Sprain?

An ankle sprain occurs when the foot twists or rolls abruptly, causing the ankle joint to move out of its natural position. Consequently, during a rapid or unexpected movement during physical exercise, the ankle may twist inward. It causes one or more ankle ligaments to strain or rip.

Due to these tears, some swelling or bruising may escalate. When you put weight on the injured part, you may experience pain or discomfort. The sprain may potentially cause injury to tendons, cartilage, and blood vessels.

Symptoms of an Achilles tendonitis injury may come in the form of pain, swelling, and/or stiffness around your ankle or heel. For this reason, this type of injury is often mistaken for an ankle sprain – especially if it has not ruptured.

Everyone can have ankle sprains. This sort of injury may be caused by sports, walking on uneven ground, or simply wearing unsuitable footwear.

3 Grades Of Ankle Sprains:

Sprains may vary in intensity from slight to severe. Your doctor will most likely assign your sprain one of three grades depending on the extent of the damage:

  • Grade 1:

Your ankle will most likely be uncomfortable and somewhat swollen. The ligament is overstretched but is not ripped as in this instance.

  • Grade 2:

You have a partial ligament tear. It results in chronic discomfort and edema. It may restrict you from placing all of your weight on the ankle. Bruising is another possibility. It is due to the rip causing blood under the skin.

  • Grade 3:

This is a complete ankle ligament injury. When it occurred, you could have heard a popping sound. This degree of sprain results in excruciating pain, edema, and bruising. Your ankle will feel unstable and will be unable to hold any of your weight since the ligament is no longer able to fulfil its function:

How To Treat An Ankle Sprain:

The primary objective is to reduce pain and swelling while also protecting the ligaments from additional damage. It generally entails following the RICE protocol. 

Rest your ankle as much as possible for the first 24–48 hours if you experience significant discomfort and bruising. During this period, soak your foot and ankle in cold water or use an ice pack for 15–20 minutes three times a day, or until the swelling subsides.

Pinch the ankle with an elastic bandage or sleeve to minimize swelling. When sitting, raise your ankle to the height of your hip, if feasible. Avoid anything that may cause swelling in the first 24 hours, such as hot showers, hot packs, or heat massages.

When To See Your Doctor?

Contact your doctor if your symptoms are not moderate or improving quickly after the incident. If you have significant pain, swelling, or numbness in your ankle, your doctor may want to see you right away. 

He or she will inspect and move the ankle and foot to assess the kind of sprain and the level of damage. This test may be postponed for a few days until the swelling and discomfort have subsided; in the meanwhile, continue with the RICE routine.

X-rays are not often utilized to diagnose ankle injuries. Most ankle discomfort is caused by ligament issues, which are not visible on standard x-rays. Clinicians may utilize the Ottawa ankle rules, to identify regions of the foot where pain, sensitivity, and inability to bear weight imply a fracture.

Strengthen Your Ankle After 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.  Functional therapy incorporates three phases: RICE in the first 24 hours to decrease pain, swelling, and risk of future injury.

In general, you may begin range-of-motion and stretching exercises within the first 48 hours and should continue until you’re pain-free as before your sprain. Begin with exercising while sitting on a chair or the floor. 

You may graduate to standing exercises while your damaged ankle heals. If your symptoms do not improve within two to four weeks, you should see a physical therapist or other professional.

Bottom Line:

If you feel pain and swelling in your ankle and suspect a sprain, contact your doctor. Self-care treatments may be sufficient, but see your doctor to determine if your ankle should be assessed. If your indications and symptoms are severe, you may have major ligament or bone damage in your ankle or lower leg.

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