Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries that affect the lower extremities. They occur when the ligaments that support the ankle joint are stretched or torn due to a sudden twisting or rolling motion. As podiatrists, we have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating ankle sprains. Here’s what you need to know about this condition:
Ankle sprains can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Sports and physical activity: Ankle sprains are common in sports that involve jumping, pivoting, or sudden changes in direction, such as basketball, soccer, and football. However, they can also occur during everyday activities, such as walking or running.
Uneven surfaces: Walking or running on uneven surfaces, such as rocks or uneven pavement, can increase the risk of ankle sprains.
Footwear: Wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support or have a high heel can increase the risk of ankle sprains.
Previous injuries: A history of ankle sprains can make you more susceptible to future injuries.
The symptoms of an ankle sprain may vary depending on the severity of the injury. They may include:
Pain and tenderness in the ankle joint
Swelling and bruising
Stiffness and difficulty moving the ankle
Instability or a feeling that the ankle is giving way
A popping or snapping sound at the time of injury
The treatment options for an ankle sprain depend on the severity of the injury. In general, the RICE method – rest, ice, compression, and elevation – is often recommended for the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury. This can help reduce pain and swelling.
Other treatment options may include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Physical therapy: Exercises to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and improve range of motion may be recommended.
Orthotic therapy to manage and treat any biomechanical causes behind increased liklihood of ankle sprains
Bracing or casting: In more severe cases, a brace or cast may be necessary to immobilize the ankle and promote healing.
Surgery: In rare cases where the ligament is completely torn, surgery may be necessary to repair the ligament.
To reduce the risk of ankle sprains, it is important to:
Wear appropriate footwear with good arch support
Use caution when walking or running on uneven surfaces
Warm up properly before engaging in physical activity
Incorporate exercises to improve balance and strengthen the muscles around the ankle
Avoid high-impact activities if you have a history of ankle sprains