Sprained Ankles and You
What is a Sprain & How is it Caused?
A sprained ankle is essentially an injury to the ankle ligament. Ankle ligaments are connective tissues that attach your bones to the ankle joint. Generally these injuries occur because the ligament is pulled too far from its usual position during certain physical activities such as running and jogging or participating in rigorous sports such as basketball, volleyball, football or when someone lands their weight on the ligament at an odd angle.
How Do I Know I Have a Sprained Ankle?
Symptoms of ankle sprains typically include swelling accompanied by localized ankle pain and the inability to stand or walk properly. In some cases there will also be bruising of the affected joint. If you have any of these symptoms, there’s a very good chance you are experiencing a sprain. Ankle sprains are more common than most people would like to believe.
The intensity of signs and symptoms of ankle sprains vary from very moderate to very high. Grade I injuries, which are less serious may only cause ankle pain when the joint is moved whereas Grade III injuries, which are more serious, could cause an inability to use the affected joint. In more severe ankle injuries, you can feel a pop or tear accompanied by shooting pain when you injure the ankle.
It’s very easy to overlook a sprain as a “twisted ankle”; however, if you experience any of these symptoms it is better to seek medical advice before proceeding to care for the injury yourself! Be aware that your ankle injury could also be an ankle fracture or a strain.
When it is muscle tissue or a tendon that is injured rather than a ligament, it is referred to as a strain whereas a fracture is caused by a break in the bones and is generally accompanied by a snapping sound rather than a pop or tear. If you try rotating the joint and there is pain it is likely to be a sprain; however, if you cannot move the joint at all, it is more likely to be a fracture.
What Will a Doctor Do?
In order to ascertain the extent of the injury and to determine the right ankle treatment, a doctor will ask you questions about how the injury occurred and whether the ankle pain has increased or decreased since the time of the injury. This helps the doctor to evaluate the severity of the ankle injury and to determine whether what you are dealing with is just a swollen ankle or if it is a broken ankle. The doctor will also most likely ask you to get an X-Ray of your ankle to rule out the possibility of a fracture.
Generally your doctor will advise using the RICE method for treatment. This is an acronym standing for rest, ice, compress and elevate, which refers to the standard form of treatment. Keep in mind that more severe injuries could require surgery or rehab for full recovery. Consult with your doctor if the injury seems to worsen or fails to improve over time.
You don’t have to suffer ankle pain unnecessarily. Our doctors are highly experienced in dealing with ankle injuries. You can walk in or call our urgent care for an appointment to have our doctors look at your ankle.