Image Source: Total Orthocare
It is quite common to injure your ankle while stepping on an uneven surface or missing a step while walking. This is normal and most of the time people get away with just a sprain that can be handled with a pack of ice. Sometimes this is just a small pain however, sometimes it is more than just a pain and can’t be suppressed with an ice pack. An ankle sprain injury happens when the strong ligaments that hold your ankle bones together are stretched beyond their limits such as being rolled, twisted or turned in an awkward way. This limits the motion of your ankle making walking difficult leading to severe pain and discomfort. 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.
Although, most of the time people complaining of ankle sprain injury are often advised to take rest along with the suggestion of hot and cold treatment. Some swelling or bruising can occur as a result of tears in the ligaments. 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. You may notice some or all of the symptoms after an ankle sprain. These symptoms may include swelling, tenderness, bruising, pain, unable to put weight on the affected ankle, skin discoloration, stiffness. Our ankle is capable of sustaining minor injuries however, you should see an orthopedic doctor or a physiotherapist when you are experiencing problems with your ankle such as a high degree of pain even after resting. Your doctor will determine the severity of the sprain. Without proper treatment the sprain can develop into chronic pain or even arthritis leading to long term damage, however with proper treatment and attention to the problem it is easy to manage ankle sprain.
Your doctor will help in diagnosing the ankle sprain by performing some tests of your foot and ankle. Mostly the swelling will be checked along with checking the range of motion by moving the joint in different directions which can be painful. The severity of the sprain can be determined based on the amount of swelling and bruising. To diagnose a sprain, your doctor will gently palpate around the outside of the ankle in the area of the pain. Additionally, imaging tests can also be conducted if there is a possibility of a broken bone in your ankle or foot. An MRI may be done if your doctor suspects a fracture, a serious injury to the ligaments, or damage to the surface of the ankle joint. The MRI test uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the body. This allows your doctor to make a proper diagnosis.
Treatment: Treating a sprained ankle promotes recovery and prevents further discomfort. It’s important not to put weight on the injured area while you’re recovering from an ankle sprain. Depending on the severity of the injury your doctor may suggest home rest, as it is always in most cases a mild ankle sprain is usually recovered with the help of rest and some home care treatments. Some of the home care treatments include using elastic bandages to wrap around your ankle and foot, wearing a brace to support your ankle, using crutches if needed, elevating your foot with pillows to reduce swelling, taking pain medication and getting plenty of rest.
It’s also helpful to apply ice to the injured area as soon as you can to reduce swelling. On the first day, you should apply ice every 20 to 30 minutes, three to four times per day. Afterward, apply ice every three to four hours for the next two days.
Your doctor may tell you to stay off of your injured ankle until the pain subsides. For mild sprains, this may take a week to 10 days, while more severe sprains may take up to several weeks to heal.