What is an Ankle Sprain?
An ankle sprain is caused by twisting or straining the ligaments of
the ankle joint. Ligaments are flexible tissue which connects bones and
cartilage and supports organs.
How does Ankle Sprain occur?
Ankle sprain is caused by the unusual twisting of your ankle. It is
caused by the sudden twisting of your ankle while running or while
coming down from stairs or doing some other activity.
Symptoms of Ankle Sprain:
There are three degrees of sprain depending on their severity :
First degree : Pain with minimal damage to the ligaments.
- Some stretching or perhaps tearing of the ligament.
- Little or no joint instability.
- Mild pain.
- Little swelling.
- Some joint stiffness.
Second degree : More ligament damage and mild looseness of the joint.
- Some tearing of the ligament fibres.
- Moderate instability of the joint.
- Moderate to severe pain.
- Swelling and stiffness.
Third degree : Complete tearing of the ligament and the joint is very loose or unstable.
- Total rupture of a ligament.
- Gross instability of the joint.
- Severe pain initially followed by no pain.
- Severe swelling.
Treatment for Ankle Sprain :
- Rest the ankle completely and apply R.I.C.E. treatment (Rest , Ice , Compression , Elevation ).
- Wrap an elastic bandage around your ankle to keep the swelling from getting worse.
- Apply heat for example with a hot water bottle or with electric heating belt(after the first 48 hours of injury).
- Use crutches until you are able to walk without pain.
- Take anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, or other pain killing medication prescribed by your doctor.
- See a physical therapist who could provide a massage.
- Protect the injured ankle by taping or a support (although do not rely on them for ever as this will weaken the joint).
- Bed rest for a week or more depending on the condition of your ankle.
- See a sports injury specialist who can advise on rehabilitation including mobility, and strengthening.
When can I return to my sport or activity?
The goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your sport or activity
as soon and as safely as possible. But, if you return too soon you may
worsen your injury, which could lead to permanent damage. Everyone
recovers from injury at a different rate. Returning to your sport or
activity will be determined by your recovering ability, the soon your
ankle recovers, the soon you will be able to return to your sport or
activity. Returning to any sport or activity is not determined by how
many days or weeks it have passed since your injury occurred. In
general, the longer you have symptoms of the injury, the longer it will
take to get better.
You may safely return to your sport or activity when, each of the following is true:
- You have full range of motion in your ankle.
- You have full strength in your ankle.
- You can jog straight ahead without any pain or limping, without crutches.
- You can sprint straight ahead without any pain or limping.
- You can jump on both legs without any pain.
Prevention of ankle sprain?
- Wear proper, well-fitting shoes when you exercise.
- Do proper warm ups like running, sit ups, etc.. before starting athletic or recreational activities.
- Avoid sharp turns and quick changes in direction and movement.
- Consider taping the ankle or wearing a brace for vigorous sports, especially if you had a previous injury.
What can a sports injury specialist do about it?
- Prescribe anti inflammatory medication.
- Reduce swelling by compression devices.
- Use ultra sound and laser treatment.
- Use cross friction massage.
- Prescribe bed rest till the injury is cured.
- Prescribe a full rehabilitation program.