The ankle joint is one of the most complex structures of the body. It is made up of many bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons.
An Ankle Sprains refers to the overstretching and/or tearing of the ligaments that help stabilise the ankle.
An ankle sprain is a common sports related injury. About 40% of injuries in athletes are due to ankle sprain. In 85% of cases, the sprain occurs in the lateral side of ankle and this type of injury is called as inversion ankle sprain. During an inversion ankle sprain, the ankle rolls in an outward direction, while the foot moves inward. The ligaments present on the outer aspect of ankle are over – stretched. If it is a severe sprain the ligaments may be torn and the ankle dislocated. Fractures may also occur.
Sprains are common in sports that involves side to side movement or high risk sports such as football. Running on uneven ground or poor foot wear can also increase the risk of ankle sprains.
Signs and Symptoms
An Ankle Sprain can range from mild to very severe, depending on the ligament damage and number of ligaments injured.
• Mild sprain- Ankle is tender, stiff and swollen. You are able to walk, as the foot feels stable
• Moderate sprain- Bruising and tenderness in the ankle region and walking is very painful
• Severe sprain- Ankle is unstable and feels wobbly. Walking is impossible, as ankle gives out and is very painful
Other symptoms include
• Swelling and bruise around the ankle
• Tenderness and pain, while moving is present
• In severe sprain, a tear, snap or pop is heard
• Pain while walking or putting weight on foot
The healing time increases with the severity of swelling and pain in the ankle.
The physician will examine the foot, ankle, knee and lower leg to assess the extent of injury.
Radiographs may be taken to rule out any fracture in the foot or ankle region.
The RICE approach is used generally in ankle sprain injury
• Rest: Rest is necessary to let the sprain heal. Crutches may be needed
• Ice: Ice should be applied to the injured region, until the swelling subsides. Icepacks should be placed for 20 minute every couple of hours, for the first 24-72 hours.
• Compression: bandage or other elastic compression wraps should be used to reduce swelling
• Elevation: The ankle should be raised above your heart level for a minimum of two to three hours in a day. This will minimize the swelling
If you have injured your ankle then you should follow the ankle rehabilitation plan below: