Did you know that ankle sprains account for around 30% of sports injuries? As a result, the most frequent musculoskeletal sports injury is this painful one. And that refers to sprained ankles that have received medical attention, which means that many more occur yearly.
Ankle sprains can range in severity from severe to minor, and when the pain is manageable, it might be alluring to continue utilizing the injured ankle. However, continuing to play on an injured ankle might cause it to heal improperly, leading to chronic ankle problems.
Our board-certified podiatrist at Bayshore Podiatry Center offers a full range of podiatric services to patients to address a variety of ankle and foot ailments, including treating ankle sprains. Additionally, our experts believe that patient education can make a significant difference in reducing avoidable damage.
Knowing about ankle sprains
It’s crucial to understand what ankle sprains include before we can comprehend why you shouldn’t play through a sprained ankle. Let’s look more closely.
The ankle joint is intricate because it consists of three primary bones connected by tendons and ligaments. The entire joint cooperates to assist you in moving. Unfortunately, even little displacements, such as those caused by an ankle twist or roll, can cause an ankle injury.
An ankle sprain happens when the ligaments in your ankle are damaged. However, not all ankle sprains are the same. Doctors categorize ankle sprains from the least severe to the most severe into Grades I, II, and III. The grade defines the severity of the ligament damage and how it affects your capacity to move and operate.
Depending on the severity of your injury, the symptoms of an ankle sprain may include the following:
- unable to support the weight
An experienced doctor should assess your ankle because the symptoms of an ankle sprain might be similar to those of other sports injuries. Our team at Bayshore Podiatry Centre has the knowledge required to guarantee an efficient diagnosis and treatment that helps avoid further issues.
Why is it so common to sprain the outer part of the ankle?
One of the most often sprained areas of the body is the outside (or lateral aspect) of the ankle joint. The tibia and fibula, two leg bones, attach to the ankle bone, or talus (pronounced “tay-luss”), as they descend the leg from the knee. The tibia bone travels down the middle/inside of the portion, whereas the fibula bone runs down the outside. These bones have swollen bumps at their ends called malleoli (pronounced “mal-ee-oh-lie”). These bumps are noticeable on either side of the ankle. The outside (lateral) and inside (medial) ligaments are located where the malleoli meet the talus.
The lateral ligaments are more frequently injured because the medial ligaments are substantially stronger than the lateral ligaments. A simple ankle roll might overstretch or tear these ligaments depending on the force applied to the ankle when it rolls outwards. The ability to roll the ankle outwards is larger than the ability to move it inwards in a healthy normal ankle—another explanation for the increased frequency of lateral ankle sprains.
Avoid playing with an ankle sprain
Even while it may be easy to brush off an ankle sprain as a minor injury and continue playing or engaging in your regular activities, when ankle sprains don’t heal properly, you run the risk of developing a disease known as chronic ankle instability.
Because of this problem, your foot regularly “gives way” and rolls inward. When an acute ankle sprain doesn’t heal properly, about 20% of patients also experience persistent ankle instability.
You may have chronic instability if any of the following apply:
- constantly turning your ankle, especially while playing sports or on uneven terrain
- Your ankle has persistent swelling and irritation
- having persistent discomfort or ankle tenderness
- you experience instability in your ankle
Playing through an ankle sprain raises your risk of developing chronic ankle instability, which increases the likelihood that you’ll sprain your ankle again, even if you’re not participating in athletic activity. Simply walking on uneven ground, such as gravel or hiking trails, increases your chance of reinjuring or fracturing your ankle if you have this condition.
How to treat a sprained ankle
The best course of action if you believe you have a sprained ankle is to get treatment immediately to preserve your ankle joint’s health. Your chance of improper healing without appropriate medical care increases with the severity of your sprain. However, even minor sprains might result in persistent ankle problems.
When you visit the Bayshore Podiatry Center, we evaluate your injury and design a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms and address the underlying cause. In the interim, take preventative measures if you think you have sprained your ankle.
It is best to take action right away if you have sprained your ankle. To heal more quickly and completely, you should put the following procedures into practice.
Preventing further injury to the ankle is the first step towards rehabilitation. This entails avoiding anything that can further exacerbate the injury and hurt the patient. Eliminate all pressure from the ankle. Laying down or sitting down both work for this. If you must move, do not put any weight on the injured limb.
Giving your body a chance to recover itself is crucial. You should restrict your movement. You should especially avoid walking. Resting after the injury will give the body’s natural healing processes time to work. The wounded foot has to be off the ground as much as possible.
Swelling and pain are frequently the results of strained or torn ankle ligaments. Icing the injured ankle will help to reduce swelling and relieve pain. Applying ice cubes or other frozen materials straight to the skin is not advised; tissue damage and freezer burn will come from this.
The best technique to ice the joint is to cover your ankle with a towel and place a bag of ice or other frozen things. Another trick is using a bag of frozen corn or peas and wrapping it around the ankle.
This action aids in stopping the ankle from swelling anymore. Compression will keep the joint from storing too much fluid. It entails tensoring or wrapping the foot in an elastic bandage. You should wrap it from the tip of your foot up to mid-calf. Don’t wrap too tightly, please. You should be able to move your foot with ease. If the wrap feels uncomfortable and tight or if you have decreased blood flow, remove it.
The process of treatment comes to an end with this stage. The healing process entails elevating the damaged as much as feasible. Elevating your leg is crucial for circulation improvement and resting and relieving pressure on the foot. Promoting the leg prevents the buildup of blood and other fluids in the leg. Your leg will also feel a little more comfortable.
Taking the right care of your ankle
We’ve already discussed how crucial it is to get quick medical attention for a sprained ankle, but there is still much we can do if you still have issues years after the initial injury. If we discover stiffness, early arthritis, or chronic instability, we can put you on a physical therapy program that can significantly enhance your ankle function going forward.
We can assist you if you wish to prevent further ankle problems after a sprain or are already experiencing post-sprain issues. Call us at (813) 877-6636 to get started.