SPRAINED
ANKLE

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SPRAINED ANKLE     (VIEW VIDEO)

An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more of the ligaments that stabilize the ankle.

Description

A twisting force to the lower leg or foot can cause a sprain. The lateral ligaments on the outside of the ankle are injured most frequently.

Cause

  • Walking or exercising on an uneven surface
  • Falling down
  • Participating in sports that require cutting actions or rolling and twisting of the foot—such as trail running, basketball, tennis, football, and soccer
  • During sports activities, someone else may step on your foot while you are running, causing your foot to twist or roll to the side.

Symptoms

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Instability of the ankle—this may occur when there has been complete tearing of the ligament or a complete dislocation of the ankle joint.

Bruising and swelling are common signs of a sprained ankle.

Doctor Examination

Physical Examination

Imaging Tests

Grades of Ankle Sprains

Grade 1 Sprain (Mild)

  • Slight stretching and microscopic tearing of the ligament fibers
  • Mild tenderness and swelling around the ankle

Grade 2 Sprain (Moderate)

  • Partial tearing of the ligament
  • Moderate tenderness and swelling around the ankle
  • If the doctor moves the ankle in certain ways, there is an abnormal looseness of the ankle joint

In a Grade 2 sprain, some but not all of the ligament fibers are torn. Moderate swelling and bruising above and below the ankle joint are common.

Grade 3 Sprain (Severe)

  • Complete tear of the ligament
  • Significant tenderness and swelling around the ankle
  • If the doctor pulls or pushes on the ankle joint in certain movements, substantial instability occurs

Treatment

Home Treatments

  • Rest your ankle by not walking on it.
  • Ice should be immediately applied to keep the swelling down. It can be used for 20 to 30 minutes, three or four times daily. Do not apply ice directly to your skin.
  • Compression dressings, bandages or ace-wraps will immobilize and support your injured ankle.
  • Elevate your ankle above the level of your heart as often as possible during the first 48 hours.

Medication

Nonsurgical Treatment

Once you are pain-free, resistance exercises may be added to your therapy program.

Surgical Treatment

Arthroscopy

Reconstruction

Immobilization

Rehabilitation

Outcomes

Chronic Ankle Sprains

Prevention

  • Warm up thoroughly before exercise and physical activity
  • Pay careful attention when walking, running, or working on an uneven surface
  • Wear shoes that are made for your activity
  • Slow down or stop activities when you feel pain or fatigue

OrthoWashington in Kirkland, WA is a premiere orthopedic practice and surgery center with surgeons and doctors serving patients in the greater Bellevue and Seattle areas.

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