Ankle Sprains: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

by Administrator 21. July 2014 08:31

Ankle sprain is one of the most common orthopedic problems that people suffer from these days. Ankle sprains make walking difficult and the swelling thus incurred may even make it difficult to stand on one's feet. It is estimated that ankle sprains have the potential to cause more chronic problems and this is why they must be treated before they become severe.

Causes -

Ankle sprains may be caused when the ankle joint is twisted beyond its ability to withstand force causing the outer ligament of the ankle to tear. It also happens when the whole weight of body presses down on it while playing or running. Sprains may occur due to -

  • Running/Walking on rough or uneven surfaces
  • Falling awkwardly
  • Sudden impacts like car crash
  • Colliding with another person while playing
  • Sudden change of direction
  • Wearing high heels

Symptoms -

An ankle sprain usually causes a sudden pain, with a sound of “pop” if it is a severe sprain. The affected area becomes too tender to touch and causes acute pain in the ankle. Symptoms associated with ankle sprain are -

  • Mild or severe pain in ankle
  • Swelling of the foot
  • Bruise development
  • Ankle feels unstable
  • Inability to move the ankle
  • Difficulty walking

Diagnosis -

The foot and ankle surgeon first determines the severity of the sprain by checking your foot, knee and leg to see if some damage to some other bones has occurred too. To determine if you have broken a bone somewhere the doctor may suggest an x-ray.

Treatment -

  • An ankle sprain is treated depending on the severity of the injury. Some sprains require a little time to heal, while others may need rigorous treatment.
  • The first and foremost treatment for a minor ankle sprain is R.I.C.E. which is short for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Rest prevents further injury and stress to the ankle while ice helps to reduce the pain and decreases swelling. Compression helps prevent inflammation and by elevating the ankle at a height above heart level, the body absorbs the fluid that has leaked into the tissue.
  • Severe sprain cases have to be treated by immobilizing the ankle with a cast or a splint which may need to be worn for certain duration as determined by the orthopedic ankle surgeon.
  • Anti-Inflammatory pain killers on doctor's recommendation can help to reduce the swelling and the doctor may advise strengthening and stretching exercises to return the range of motion to the ankle. 

It is advised to complete the rehabilitation program that fully recovers the injury or else the sprain may become chronic. Minor injuries to ankle must be attended promptly before they become severe. Effective treatment and following your doctor's advice with adequate rest can make a sprained ankle as good as new in a few weeks time.


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