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Individuals get injured on a daily basis worldwide. These injuries can range from small cuts and bruises to severe debilitating conditions like fractures, dislocations, trauma, and paralysis.
Regardless of the type or severity of an injury, you should make sure to take care of yourself by getting a proper checkup and treatment so that you can improve your condition and not face any future consequences.
One of the most common physical injuries involves spraining a ligament, muscle or joint. The most common type of sprain is an ankle sprain.
Ankle sprain is more common than you realize
The Canadian Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society states that 25,000 cases of ankle sprains are seen every day. That shows just how prevalent a problem it really is. According to an article published in Sports Medicine, ankle sprains are more common in females than males with 13.6 female instances and 6.94 male instances per 1,000 exposures.
Ankle sprains are also more common in children than adolescents with 2.85 children affected per 1,000 exposures. Athletes or players involved in indoor or court sports are more likely to face ankle sprains, with 7 cases per 1,000 exposures.
What is an ankle sprain?
According to the Health Line, an ankle sprain is any tearing or stretching of tough bands of tissue known as ligaments that surround the ankle joint. Every ligament has a specific range of movement that helps keep the joints stable. When ligaments of the ankle joint are pushed beyond their limit, the ankle can be sprained.
An ankle sprain usually has to do with injuring the ligaments surrounding the outside of the ankle. You should consult a professional at Pillars of Wellness if you sprain your ankle to check the severity of the injury and get a proper treatment plan.
What causes an ankle sprain?
An ankle sprain usually happens when your ankle suddenly twists or turns, forcing the joint out of its regular position. During physical exercise, the ankle can twist due to any sudden or abnormal movement or stance. This results in one or more ligaments surrounding the ankle to stretch or tear.
Some swelling or bruising can be seen in the area where the ligament tears. Moreover, you could feel pain or discomfort while putting weight or moving the affected area. Tendons, cartilage, and blood vessels can also get damaged because of an ankle sprain.
Ankle sprains can affect anyone, regardless of age. Taking part in sports, walking on rough surfaces, or even using the wrong footwear can result in an ankle sprain.
What are the symptoms of an ankle sprain?
You can face any of the following symptoms if you have a sprained ankle:
- Difficulty putting weight on the affected ankle
- Skin discoloration
It’s important to get an appointment with Pillars of Wellness to get a professional consult when you face any issues with your ankle. Make sure to get your ankle checked if you face any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
How is an ankle sprain diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you about any previous falls, injuries or posture problems, and then conduct a physical exam to see which ligaments have been torn or stretched. During the physical, your doctor will move your ankle joint in different ways to test the range of motion.
In addition, imaging tests like X-rays can be suggested to rule out any bone fractures. An MRI is usually done if fractures, serious injury to the ligaments, or joint damage is suspected so that your doctor can make a proper diagnosis.
How is an ankle sprain treated?
Mild ankle sprains can be easily treated at home by:
- Using elastic bandages to wrap the ankle
- Getting plenty of rest
- Taking anti-inflammatory medication and painkillers to treat the swelling and pain
- Using crutches in case of severely restricted mobility
- Averting putting any weight on the sprain
- Wearing a brace to support your ankle
- Elevating your foot with pillows to minimize swelling
Furthermore, it’s useful to ice the affected injured area so that you can reduce the swelling. For the first three days, you should ice the ankle every 20 to 30 minutes, around three to four times every day. Gradually, you should minimize icing to every three to four hours, and finally once daily.
Your doctor would recommend you to avoid excessively using your sprained ankle until the pain goes away. For mild sprains, this usually takes 7 to 10 days, whereas ankle sprains with greater severity can take several weeks to months to heal.
Surgery for ankle sprains is a last resort. It can be advised when the damage to the ligaments is extreme and there is proof of instability, or when the sprain does not heal with traditional treatments. Surgical treatments include:
- Arthroscopy: With an arthroscopy, your doctor checks inside the joint to figure out if there are any loose fragments of bone or cartilage
- Reconstruction: With reconstruction surgery, your doctor will fix the torn ligament using stitches. They can also use other ligaments or tendons surrounding the foot or ankle to fix the sprained ligaments
The choice of surgery varies depending on the severity of the ankle sprain and your level of physical activity.
Physical Therapy and Ankle Sprains go hand in hand
After surgery, physical is a crucial part of the healing process. You’ll have to go for continuous follow-up sessions with a physiotherapist or a chiropractor to complete specific physical therapy exercises to get back some motion and strength in the muscles and ligaments surrounding the ankle.
Edden N. dislocated her foot which resulted in a severe ankle sprain. She couldn’t move or walk without crutches and a brace. Edden realized she needed physical therapy for any chance of recovery. She regularly performed her PT exercises and followed her treatment plan, which also involved massage therapy and ankle manipulation.
After two months of hard work, Edden was jogging over 3 miles and could take part in her favorite activities like snowmobiling. If you want to get the right physical therapy treatment like Edden, contact Pillars of Wellness to arrange an assessment with either our physiotherapist or chiropractor!