A sprain is an injury to a ligament. A ligament connects one bone to another and provides stability about a joint. An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments about the ankle are forced beyond their normal positon. The severity of an ankle sprain is dependent on the amount of injury to the ligament and how many ligaments are involved.
An ankle sprain typically occurs from the foot twisting inward on the ankle. This can occur as a result of a fall, uneven surfaces, inappropriate shoe gear, or landing awkwardly on the foot when jumping. The ligaments on the outside of the ankle are most commonly injured.
Pain, swelling and bruising are the most common symptoms. As a result of the swelling the ankle joint may become stiff. Because the ligaments provide stability to the ankle walking may become difficult. The severity of the symptoms depends upon whether the ligament is stretched, partially torn or completely torn, as well as, the number of ligament involved.
A detailed physical exam is used in determining the severity of a sprain. X-rays are performed to rule out a fracture. In some cases a MRI may be needed to determine the extent of the injury.
Initial treatment will consist of rest, ice, elevation and compression. Anti-inflammatory medications are often used to decrease pain and inflammation. Immobilization is used to limit motion of the ligaments and promote healing in a more anatomically correct positon. Ankle braces may be made out of canvas, nylon, elastic, neoprene, or a rigid plastic stirrup. In more severe sprains a removable boot or cast may be used. Once the ligaments have healed physical therapy is recommended to strengthen the ankle. Aggressive treatment of a sprain is recommended to prevent instability of the ankle. A flexible brace may be recommended for protection against re-injury when participating in high impact sports in the future.
*For products to relating to the treatment and prevention of an ankle sprain we recommend footsupplystore.com
*If you have sustained an ankle sprain prompt evaluation and treatment is essential to a favorable long term outcome. Please call our office (numbers below) or fill out the contact form for an evaluation of your ankle by one of our board certified physicians.