What is an ankle sprain?
An ankle sprain is an injury to the tight bands of tissue (ligaments) that connect the bones of the ankle to the foot. The injury usually occurs when the ankle is inadvertently twisted. It can stretch or tear the ligaments that hold the bones and joints of the ankle together.
The ankle joint connects the foot to the leg. All three ligaments keep the ankle bones from moving out of place. One of these ligaments is an ankle sprain when it is too far away or torn.
Symptoms of ankle sprain
Inflammation of a sprained ankle can cause symptoms that include:
- Swelling and bruising: It can be very swollen, you can press that area with your finger and leave the bleeding.
- Ankle instability: This can occur when there is a complete tear of the tendon or complete dislocation of the ankle joint.
- Difficulty walking: Sprains can limit the amount of movement in your ankle.
- Red and warmth: A sprain causes more blood to flow to this area.
- Your nerves become more sensitive after a sprain. The joint hurts and can hit. When you press it, when you move your foot in a certain way, it can be very bad to walk or stand.
- The joint weakens when the tendon is completely torn.
- Sensitivity to touch
- Injured and swollen ankle
- Injuries and swelling are common signs of a sprained ankle.
- Inability to put weight on the affected ankle
Your doctor can determine if the injury is a sprain or more serious. If the tendons are severely torn, you may even hear or feel a “pop” when you sprain. The symptoms of a severe sprain are similar to those of a broken bone and require immediate medical evaluation.
Causes of ankle sprain
Any ligament that stretches more than the ankle can be damaged. This usually happens when your foot turns in or out, when you:
- Implant the foot incorrectly when walking, going up or down, or doing daily activities like getting out of bed.
- Stepping on an uneven surface such as a hole
- Step on another person while playing sports. (For example, when playing basketball, your foot may tip over when you go back and climb onto another player’s foot.)
- Ankle sprain often occurs when the foot suddenly twists or turns, pushing the ankle joint out of its normal position.
- During physical exertion, a sudden or unexpected involuntary movement can cause the inside of the ankle to twist. It causes one or more ligaments around the ankle to stretch or tear.
- These tears can cause swelling or bruising. You may feel pain or discomfort when you put weight on the affected area.
- Sprains can also damage tendons, cartilage, and blood vessels.
- Ankle sprains can occur in anyone of any age. Playing sports, walking on uneven surfaces, or wearing inappropriate footwear can also cause these types of injuries.
Treatment for an ankle sprain
Almost all ankle sprains can be treated without surgery. A complete tendon tear can also heal without surgical repair if properly fixed.
The three-step program guides the treatment of all ankle sprains, from mild to severe:
- The first step is to relax, protect the ankle, and reduce inflammation.
- The second step involves a restorative range of motion, strength, and flexibility.
- The third step includes maintenance exercises and a gradual return to activities that do not require rotation or twisting of the ankle. This is followed by activities that require sharp, sharp turns (court activities) such as tennis, basketball, or soccer.
- This three-step treatment program can take as little as 2 weeks to complete for minor sprains or 6 to 12 weeks for more serious injuries.
Home remedies: For minor sprains, your doctor may recommend regular home treatment.
Rice protocol: Follow the rice protocol as soon as possible after your injury:
- Relax without walking on your ankle.
- Ice should be applied immediately to reduce swelling. It can be used for 20 to 30 minutes, three or four times a day. Do not apply ice directly to your skin.
- Bandages, straps, or compression bandages stabilize and support the injured ankle.
- Raise your ankle above the heart level for the first 48 hours.
Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help control pain and inflammation. Since they improve performance by reducing inflammation and controlling pain, they are a better option for minor sprains than narcotic pain relievers.
Some sprains require treatment along with the rice protocol and medication.
Crutches: In most cases, swelling, and pain last 2 to 3 days. Walking can be difficult at this time, and your doctor may recommend that you use crutches as needed.
Stabilization: In the early stages of healing of the ankle sprain, it is important to support the ankle and protect it from sudden movements. For Grade 2 sprains, a removable plastic device, such as a cast boot or an air band-type brace, is supported. Grade 3 sprains may require a short leg cast or brace for 2 to 3 weeks.
Physical therapy: Rehabilitation exercises are used to prevent stiffness, increase ankle strength, and prevent chronic ankle problems.
Initial movement: To prevent stiffness, your doctor or physical therapist may offer you exercises that involve controlled or range movements of your ankle.
Strengthen the exercises: If you can bear weight without increased pain or swelling, your treatment plan includes exercises that strengthen the muscles and tendons in the front and back of your legs and feet. Aquatic exercises can be used if strengthening exercises on land, such as toe lifts, are very painful. Resistance exercises are tolerated.
Proprioception (balance) training: Poor balance often leads to sprains and ankle instability. A good example of a balance exercise is lifting the opposite foot and standing on the affected foot with your eyes closed. Balance boards are often used in this stage of rehabilitation.
Endurance and agility exercises: Once you feel no pain, other exercises such as agility exercises can be added. For agility and strength, the calf and ankle run gradually on small toys-8. The goal is to increase strength and range of motion as balance improves over time.
Surgical treatment for ankle sprains is very rare. Surgery is assigned to injuries that do not respond to non-surgical treatment and to patients who experience persistent ankle instability after months of rehabilitation and non-surgical treatment.
Surgical options may include:
Arthroscopy: During arthroscopy, your doctor uses a small camera called an arthroscope to look inside your ankle joint. Microscopic devices are used to remove any loose pieces of bone or cartilage or parts of the tendon that are trapped in the joint.
Reconstruction: Your doctor can repair a damaged tendon with stitches or sutures. In some cases, you will replace the damaged ligament with a tissue graft obtained from other ligaments and/or tendons that are found around the foot and ankle.
Stabilization: Ankle sprain has a stabilization period after surgery. Your doctor may apply a cast or protective boot to protect the repaired or rebuilt tendon. Strictly follow your doctor’s instructions on how long to wear protective equipment; If you remove it too quickly, a common mistake can tear the fixed ligament.
Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation after surgery takes time and care to restore strength and range of motion so you can return to work before the injury. How long you expect to recover depends on the injury and the amount of surgery performed. Rehab can take weeks to months.