Today, we are going to talk about ankle sprain in detail. Ready to quit limping?
We will be sharing a lot of important facts to keep you informed on the intricate details of ankle sprain, causes, treatments and prevention.
Ready to beat ankle sprain? Let’s get started.
What Is An Ankle Sprain?
A lot of us have twisted our ankles at different points in time. Twisting your ankle isn’t a huge deal and happens pretty easily; however, the real trouble occurs when the ankle begins to swell and it becomes painful as well.
We’ve all been there, right?
When the pain fails to subside even after a long time, odds are you might have sprained your ankle. In some cases, it may also happen that you stretched or strained the ligaments. Anything worse infers that you might have torn ligaments. When your ligaments get torn, you may need surgery, it is going to be hugely painful and can take a long time and rehab to recuperate as well.
Though ankle sprain injuries are extremely common, it would be wrong to treat them as minor injuries.
Got that? Don’t ignore your ankle injury. It may not get better on its own.
Those who tend to have sprain at regular intervals often end up suffering from weak joints and even a consistent pain in joints over a period of time as well. This is the reason, you are advised to treat a sprained ankle at the earliest or else it can lead to multiple problems together.
What Leads to a Sprained Ankle?
You must be wondering as to what are the possible causes which lead to the trouble of ankle sprain. Here, we will discuss the same.
One of the most common causes for ankle sprain is when you make a very sharp and rapid movement while planting your foot. This can happen when you are jogging, running or playing different games like soccer, basketball, cricket or anything that involves running. It’s important to understand the best way to run so you can minimize your risk.
When your ankle is being sprained, you’ll find that the ankle ends up rolling outwards and simultaneously, the foot will turn inwards. Owing to this movement, the ligaments that are present on the outside of your ankle are much more likely to stretch. If the stretching of the ligament is extensive, it can also tear and this can be a very painful condition.
In some rare cases, it may also happen that the ankle will end up rolling inward and the foot will turn outwards. In such cases, the ligaments that are present inside of the ankle are much more likely to get damaged and torn.
Either way, bad news for your ankle.
The severity and intensity of ankle sprain can vary immensely. It can be mild which can be ignored and also extremely severe as well which can create immense pain. The intensity of pain mostly depends upon the extent to which ligament is damaged. It also depends upon the number of ligaments that are torn or injured as well.
When you have a mild ankle sprain, your ankle might get a little swollen and stiff, but the ligaments won’t tear apart. This will heal on its own with icing and rest. You’ll be able to walk without immense pain. However, you are likely to be a little uncomfortable and your legs may feel a little stiff as well.
When the ankle sprain severity level is much more intense, you’ll know because you will find it extremely difficult to move and walk.
And running? No chance.
With a more severe sprain, the ankle may even have bruises and even walking could send severe pain through the ankle region. When the case gets extremely serious, the ankle becomes extremely unstable and you may wobble when you are walking. This is an extremely painful condition and you should immediately see your doctor.
Symptoms of Ankle Sprain
When you are looking to diagnose the main symptoms of ankle sprain, here are the points you need to know.
If you have sprained your ankle, you will feel some kind of pain near the site of tearing of muscles. Most times, you are also going to find some swelling around the ankle region and bruises are common. Further, the ankle area will be tender and even moving it slightly is going to hurt a lot.
If the sprain is severe and extremely intense, you may find a popping or snapping sound as well. At this point, your foot may not be able to handle the weight and this walking is going to be a painful affair. This is one reason as to why sprain is going to take a longer time to heal.
How To Diagnose Ankle Sprain?
In order to get your ankle sprain diagnosed, your doctor is going to ask you as to how you injured your leg and whether you had hurt it before as well. The doctor is likely to check your foot and ankle and then proceed to check the lower leg heading up to the knee to find if the leg is hurt somewhere else as well. Sometimes, the doctors may ask you to opt for an X-ray as well to find out if any bone has been broken in your foot.
You might be wondering:
How do I know if I have a bad enough ankle sprain that I should see the doctor?
If you cannot walk after a couple days of resting after the injury, then it’s time to see the doc.
Are You Wondering How To Treat Ankle Sprain at Home?
In order to treat sprain, it is best advised to choose the RICE method. Ever heard of this? Let me explain.
- Rest: you have to be sure that you are resting enough. Your body needs rest to fight the injury.
- Ice: for nearly 24 to 72 hours, you need to be sure that you keep an ice pack handy. Ideally, you must apply an ice pack for 10 to 20 minutes per hour every day. This should be applied unless the swelling subsides away permanently. Also, keep a thin cloth between your skin and the ice to protect your skin.
- Compression: use an ACE bandage to create an elastic compression wrap around the injury. The main goal here is reducing swelling. For the first couple of days, wear the compression wrap as much as possible Keep in mind, these wraps are not going to offer you protection during physical activity. A brace is needed for prevention.
- Elevation: keep your ankle raised at a level above the heart. Try and do it for nearly 2 to 3 hours every day. When you do so, you will be able to get rid of the swelling and also the bruising of ankle as well.
Ankle Sprain Treatment Pro Tips
Did you know that taking fish oil regularly helps battle inflammation?
Ibuprofen is also a decent option for reducing some of the inflammation and pain.
To treat your ankle sprain, you’ll also need the right rehab exercises. Don’t overdo it on adding resistance, but using the right amount will help. One of the best things you can use is a flat exercise band that you can wrap around the ankle and gently extend and contract, bending at the ankle.
Sometimes, when an ankle sprain is not healing for a long time, the whole joint may become unstable.
This can lead to chronic pain over a period of time as well. At times, it also ends up weakening your ankle and this increases the likelihood of being injured again in the future.
Some people are always in a hurry to get back to running and active sports; however, you might want to rethink this.
Your body needs time to fight the injury. Don’t rush it.
Hurrying too much, may end up leading to you hurting your ankle all over again. When you’re coming back from an ankle sprain, you should purchase a brace sleeve to help add some support.
High top sneakers or boots can also provide additional support while you’re rebuilding your strength.
Luckily, an ankle sprain is not the end of the world. If you follow the RICE technique, and use a brace along with proper rehab, you’ll be back in the gym quickly.
However, in the rare case that your leg hasn’t stabilized after a week or more, and even walking makes you extremely uncomfortable, it’s time to call your doctor. This may be a sign of a more serious injury or ligament tear.
The Best Rehab Programs for Ankle Sprain
You’re probably wondering, what is the best rehab to use for an ankle sprain? First, you should begin rehabbing the ankle as soon as you feel you’re able.
Try and walk slowly and take it very easy at first. Make it a point not to put too much weight on your foot. If you are experiencing a lot of pain, you should use crutches to lessen the impact. But even with crutches, adding weight slowly will help reacclimate your ankle to normal function.
Regardless of how uncomfortable it may be, you need to walk a little. However, you have to be sure that you are not over exerting your leg.
After you’ve been icing your ankle, as a part of the therapy, you can also start a wide range of motion exercises. Use a band to add slight resistance, and make circles with your foot just off the ground.
The main aim of using ice therapy is to cut down on the swelling and pain, but the movement exercises will help circulation and also reduce swelling.
Want some ideas for motion exercises?
Think about tracing the letters of the alphabet with your big toe. When you do this, your ankle is going to experience movement in all different directions and thus the flow of blood in your leg will increase greatly.
If you think you have experienced a sprained ankle, you can always ask your doctor for additional help, guidance and suggestions as well. Remember to rest, ice, compress and elevate. Then move to working back your range of motion in the ankle using a band.
Focus on complete treatment of your ankle because if the sprain is not healed in entirety, you’re likely to reinjure yourself. Don’t rush back, you might just find yourself out again.
Sprained ankle can recur very easily so be sure that you are treating and resting it completely before returning to the gym or field.
In most cases, the right effort and methods will have you back quickly. You can treat your sprained ankle completely. Only in a very few cases will additional treatment be needed.
Remember, if you still cannot walk at all on your ankle after a week, this may be a sign of a more serious injury.
Heal smart, heal fully and get back out there to achieving your fitness goals.