Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is an injury to the tough bands of tissue (ligaments) that surround and connect the bones of the leg to the foot. The injury typically happens when you accidentally twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way. This can stretch or tear the ligaments that hold your ankle bones and joints together.

All ligaments have a specific range of motion and boundaries that allow them to keep the joints stabilized. When ligaments surrounding the ankle are pushed past these boundaries, it causes a sprain. Sprained ankles most commonly involve injuries to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.

You should call your doctor right away if you sprain your ankle. Your doctor can determine the severity of the injury and recommend a proper course of treatment. It can take several weeks or months for a sprained ankle to heal completely.

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Dr. Anirban Deep Banerjee

An ankle sprain often occurs when the foot suddenly twists or rolls, forcing the ankle joint out of its normal position. During physical activity, the ankle may twist inward as a result of sudden or unexpected movement. This causes one or more ligaments around the ankle to stretch or tear.

Some swelling or bruising can occur as a result of these tears. You may also feel pain or discomfort when you place weight on the affected area. Tendons, cartilage, and blood vessels might also be damaged due to the sprain.

Ankle sprains can happen to anyone at any age. Participating in sports, walking on uneven surfaces, or even wearing inappropriate footwear can all cause this type of injury.

There are many risk factors for ankle sprain, such as:

  • Having ankle sprains before;
  • Running or walking on uneven surfaces;
  • Unfitted shoes or sporting equipments;
  • Playing sports that requires frequent feet movements such as football or basketball.

Signs and symtomps of ankle sprains include:

  • Popping or tearing at the time of injury;
  • Pain occurs during the injury and after, when walking or moving the ankle;
  • The skin around the ankle may be bruised.
  • With severe injuries, extreme pain makes weight bearingand moving the ankle hard;
  • Tinkling or numbness in the foot may mean nerve or blood vessel damage.

There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

The doctor will ask about the accident and examine the ankle by moving it to check ligaments and tendons.

For a minor sprain, no more tests are needed. For a severe sprain, the doctor may order x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Ankle sprains need to be treated as soon as the injury happens. Before getting treament in your local health service, you can:

  • Apply ice immediately, because swelling starts quickly. Don’t apply heat to the sprain in 72 hours after the injury happens or the swelling will get worse.
  • Use crutches to rest your feet.
  • Keep walking to a minimum.
  • Put on a compression wrap or splint on the ankle and keep it elevated above hip level.

Physical therapy can strengthen muscles, help recovery, and help prevent more injuries.

Over-the-counter antiimflamatory medications (ibuprofen) can be taken to decrease swelling and provide pain relief.

Severe sprains may need surgery and physical therapy.

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with ankle sprain:

  • Wear ankle bearing when playing sports if you often get sprains.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Take medicines and use crutches prescribed by your doctor.
  • Remember RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
  • Call your doctor if you cannot walk on your injured ankle, swelling hasn’t ;eft after 2 days or increases, or you notice popping, catching, or the ankle giving way.
  • Call your doctor if your foot is numb, tingling, or is a blue or dusky color, or your toes are cold (signs of cut-off circulation).
  • Call your doctor if you don’t see improvement in 7 to 10 days after the sprain.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

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