ankle sprain is a common walking and sporting injury. It
can be a very painful experience and can significantly affect
a patient’s lifestyle. It occurs
due to the ankle twisting and causing damage to the soft tissues
and ligaments. A ligament
consists of several strands of tissue all compacted together
to form a strong structure, similar to a rope. An ankle sprain
may result in a partial or complete tear of a ligament, which
stabilizes the ankle joint. Once the ligament is torn, it becomes
weak which in turn affects ankle stability.
The degree in which the ankle stability is affected is dependent
upon the level of the tear. When an ankle sprain occurs, the
usual scenario involves the athlete "rolling" his or
her ankle while landing from a jump or running followed by a
sharp pain on the outside of the ankle. An
audible "pop" or "snap" may
accompany the injury, which sometimes signals ligamentous rupture. If the athlete can walk on the injured ankle, the likelihood
of a serious injury is less, but athletic participation should
be discontinued. Shoes should be kept on until examination and
treatment. Symptoms include a swollen, painful ankle with possible
bruising due to ruptured blood vessels.
How are ankle sprains
Signs of an ankle sprain are swelling, pain, bruising and trouble
moving the ankle after the injury. Your doctor will usually
be able to tell if you have a sprain by asking you some
questions about how the injury occurred and by examining your
Rest--You may need to rest your ankle, either completely or
partly, depending on how serious your sprain is. Use
crutches for as long as it hurts you to
stand on your foot.
Ice--Using ice packs, ice slush baths or ice massages can decrease
the swelling, pain, bruising and muscle spasms. Keep using ice
for up to 3 days after the injury.
Compression--Wrapping your ankle may be the best way to avoid
swelling and bruising. You'll probably need to keep your ankle
wrapped for 1 or 2 days after the injury and perhaps for up to
a week or more.
Elevation--Raising your ankle to or above the level of your
heart will help prevent the swelling from getting worse and will
help reduce bruising. Try to keep your ankle elevated for about
2 to 3 hours a day if possible.