The Sprained Ankle – Sports most common injury
There is a good chance you have dealt with a “Sprained Ankle” if you have ever played sports or gone running/walking. The sprained ankle is the most common type of athletic injury, with research suggesting that ankle sprains account for 15-30% of all sports injuries. Although it is a widespread injury in sports, it also regularly occurs during everyday activities.
Ankle sprains occur when the foot twists, rolls, or turns beyond its regular motions. It can happen when the foot is planted awkwardly, when the ground is uneven, or when an unusual force is applied to the joint.
The ligaments surrounding the ankle can become severely overstretched and damaged. A damaged ligament causes inflammation, swelling, and bruising around the affected joint. Most sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle.
- Symptoms of a sprained ankle may include:
- Ankle pain (mild to severe)
- Inability to bear weight on the affected ankle
- Decreased range of motion at the ankle joint
- Swelling and inflammation
- Instability of the ankle (in severe sprains)
A thorough examination from a doctor is usually sufficient to diagnose a sprained ankle.
Grade 1 sprain: Slight stretching and some damage to the fibers of the ligament.
Grade 2 sprain: Partial tearing of the ligament. If the ankle joint is examined and moved in certain ways, abnormal looseness (laxity) of the ankle joint occurs.
Grade 3 sprain: Complete tear of the ligament. Gross instability occurs.
The severity of the ankle sprain is important to establish as this will indicate a time frame of when the injured person can return to sport or normal activity.
Based on the diagnosis, the doctor may establish a treatment and rehabilitation plan. Treatment may comprise some of the following:
- Advice regarding RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
- Soft tissue massage
- Joint mobilization
- Electrical therapy
- Range of motion (ROM) exercises
- Strength training
- Gait training
- Balance/Proprioceptive training
- Activity modification advice
- Return to activity program
Without proper treatment for an ankle sprain, there can be long-term adverse effects such as chronic instability, decreased range of motion, and pain.
Speak with an Orthopedic Specialist Today
Are you suffering from a recent injury? Make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today to start your healing journey. OrthoArizona has nearly two dozen offices throughout the Valley, each focused on quality care, compassion, and excellent customer service. Since 1994, OrthoArizona has been dedicated to compassionate care of the highest quality.
The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational, medical material.