Understanding & Treatment Options for Ankle Sprains
What is an Ankle Sprain vs. an Ankle Strain?
When you experience an injury during physical activity, you may inquire about an ankle sprain or a strain. Ankle sprains occur when one or more ligaments in the ankle are stretched and torn beyond their limits. Your ligaments are bands of strong tissues that keep the ankle steady during side-to-side movement. Ankle strains occur when tendons are stretched and torn beyond limits. Your tendons are fibrous cords of tissue that attach your muscles to bone. If you are experiencing ankle sprain symptoms, schedule a consultation online today with one of our premier podiatrists in South Florida to explore proper ankle sprain treatments.
What Causes Ankle Sprains and Strains?
Arthritis is associated with many different illnesses so the cause is dependent on the type of arthritis. Risk factors include genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors such as:
- A fall, trip or stumble
- Running on uneven surfaces
- A sudden twist or blow to the ankle
- Insufficient breaks and stretches during physical activity
Different Grades of Ankle Sprains
Ankle Sprain Symptoms
Ankle sprains and strains and fractures can cause pain and instability depending on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms of sprains and strains include:
- Difficulty walking
- A tear or pop in the joint
- Pain and tenderness in the foot and ankle area
Sprained Ankle Treatments
- Rest: Avoid walking on the injured ankle to prevent further injury.
- Ice: Apply ice to the injury for 20-30 minutes continuously three to four times daily throughout the day to reduce swelling.
- Compression: Apply a dressing, bandage or wrap around the injured ankle to prevent mobility and provide support to the ankle.
- Elevation: Keep the ankle elevated your heart throughout the first 48 hours of the injury to reduce swelling.
A rehabilitation schedule that implements stretches and exercises will catalyze healing and increase mobility. The doctor may recommend that you use crutches or cast-boot to support your ankle and prevent sudden movements that could cause further damage.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help ease pain and inflammation. Prescription pain killers may be prescribed to provide pain proper relief in severe cases.
Surgical treatment for ankle sprains is rare and usually involves removal or reparation of the damaged ligaments in the foot and around the ankle. Common surgical procedures for ankle sprains include:
- Ligament repair: For ligaments that won't heal.
- Ligament reconstruction: Tissue from a nearby tendon or ligament is used to reconstruct the torn ligament.
- Fixation for ankle syndesmosis: The ends of the tibia and fibula are anchored together with a polyethylene cord to restore original positioning and allow for proper healing.
There is no immunity from ankle sprains and strains and fractures but proper stretching, footwear and warming up before physical activity can help prevent them. More tips on preventing sprains and strains are:
- Maintaining healthy muscle strength, balance, and flexibility with exercise.
- Wearing an ankle brace or tape on a weak or already injured ankle.
- Speak with a podiatrist and trainer to determine the proper shoes for sports.
- Shoes should be replaced every year or 400+ miles.
- Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes often.
If you are experiencing ankle sprain symptoms, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at 305.853.5151 with one of our premier podiatrists in South Florida to explore the proper ankle sprain treatment for you.
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