What is an Ankle Sprain?
Some people believe that an ankle sprain is the most commonly seen sports injury suffered every year around the world. An ankle sprain occurs when one or more ligaments in the ankle are stretched out or possibly torn. These ligaments in the ankle help hold the bones in the ankle in place and help to provide stability in order to prevent injury. This is a very commonly seen injury in nearly all sports but is especially common in football, soccer, basketball, tennis, running and cheerleading. A sprained ankle is most often caused from one of two reasons: the first being a direct blow to any part of the ankle and the second cause is a result of sudden stopping or twisting of the ankle. There is typically a lot of swelling and inflammation that is associated with a sprained ankle so it is important to follow the proper ice application methods and to take the appropriate NSAID’s to manage the symptoms. If you have suffered from an ankle sprain, it is important to get fitted with the proper ankle brace to help prevent the injury from recurring.
Medical Definition of an Ankle Sprain
Approximately 25,000 people suffer from an ankle sprain every day. Ankle sprains are not always simple injuries to cure and residual symptoms occur in up to 40% of patients. In most cases the lateral ligaments of the ankle are the only structures that are injured, but other ligament tears can occur with an inversion injury. In addition to the lateral ligaments being damaged, there may also be instances where there is an injury suffered to the syndesmosis. This is the thick ligaments that connect the distal portion of the tibia and fibula. This combined injury is what we often refer to as a high ankle sprain.
- Sprained Ankle
- Inversion Injury
- High Ankle Sprain
What are the symptoms of an Ankle Sprain?
- Pain over the injured ligaments; typically on the outside portion of the ankle.
- Swelling of the ankle joint.
- Loss of function in the ankle and surrounding areas.
- With severe ankle sprains you may feel a pop, followed by immediate swelling.
- Ankle Fracture
- Ruptured Achilles Tendon
Treatment of Ankle Sprain
- Phase 1 of treatment should include the following; Initial phase
o Follow the R.I.C.E. principles
o Proper usage of NSAIDS to help alleviate any pain.
o The use of a brace is needed to promote soft tissue healing.
o Allow weight bearing as tolerated, with the use of crutches as needed.
- Phase 2 of treatment should include the following; Begins 2-4 weeks after injury.
o Continue to wear a brace during this phase.
o Begin exercises to increase dorsiflexion strength.
o Stretching of the Achilles tendon.
- Phase 3 of treatment should include the following; Begins 4-6 weeks after injury.
o Gradually working back into agility and endurance training.
o Continue stretching and strengthening exercises.
o Apply heat before exercises and use ice after exercising.
- Achilles Tendon
- Sprained Ankle vs Broken Ankle
Greene W.B. (Ed). (2001). Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care.Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (422-424)