What is an Ankle Sprain?
An Ankle sprain is when the ligaments which support the ankle are injured or torn. Ligaments are tough bands of connective tissue which hold the bones of the ankle joint in place. While they are meant to be flexible, they can become overtaxed and tear. A sudden twist can cause them to stretch too far and loosen or even snap. Ankle sprains are ranked using grades:
Grade I- the ligaments have been excessively stretched but have not torn
Grade II- the ligaments have partially torn
Grade III- the ligament(s) have completely torn
People are at a greater risk for spraining an ankle if you:
- walk, run, play on uneven surfaces
- Wear ill fitting shoes
- Have sprained your ankle in the past
- Play sports which require you to change direction suddenly ie Football
- Are overweight
What Are Symptoms of a Sprained Ankle?
Ankle sprains cause:
- Swelling with or without pain
- a popping sound may or may not be present during the injury
- Bruising, especially on the outside of the ankle
- Ankle pain
- Difficulty moving the ankle
- Instability or repeated sprains
Usually the more severe the symptoms, the more severe the sprain. To determine how severe the sprain is we use x-rays to view the joint and its structures.
What Treatments Are Used?
Sprains can sometimes heal on their own. However, we want to ensure that the ligaments heal properly. We do not want the ligament to become lax. When the sprain is especially severe surgery may be required to remove bits of torn ligaments, bone, or cartilage. Surgery can also be used to repair the ligament or reconstruct them. Resting and icing the ankle will be helpful for all sprains and if necessary the doctor can provide you with a brace to provide support. Compression bandages can be worn and the ankle should be elevated to minimize swelling. Anti-inflammatory medication will also help during the initial healing period. Once you are able, stretching and strengthen exercise will help to prevent re-injuring the ankle.
Call us at 727-842-9504 to make an appointment. Dr. Zafar will sit down with you and discuss options to proceed with.