Odds are good that at some point in your life, you’ve experienced an ankle ligament injury, also known as an ankle sprain. In fact, sprained ankles are the most frequent type of musculoskeletal injury. An estimated 25,000 people sprain their ankle each day.
What is an Ankle Sprain?
A sprain occurs when an unnatural twisting of the joint results in a ligament injury. This can happen during intense sporting activities or during regular daily activities. Common causes include stepping on an irregular surface, inversion or eversion injuries (when the foot twists inward or outward, respectively), or awkwardly planting the foot when running, walking, or stepping up or down.
Swelling, pain, redness, and warmth are all symptoms of an ankle sprain. Soft tissue injury and inflammation occur. Although many ankle sprains heal using conservative treatment methods, acute sprains may result in chronic ankle instability and pain.
Without an x-ray, it can be difficult to differentiate a sprain from a fracture (broken bone). If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention:
- Unable to bear weight
- Significant swelling
- Deformity of the ankle or foot
Treating an Ankle Sprain:
Treatment options for your ankle sprain vary based on the severity of the injury. Ankle sprains are classified as grade I, II, or III, depending on how many ligaments are injured.
- For Grade I sprains, R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) guidelines should be followed.
- Grade II sprains also follow the R.I.C.E. guidelines, and may also involve immobilization of the joint through a brace or splint, as well as longer resting time.
- A Grade III ankle sprain puts you at risk for permanent ankle instability. Your doctor may advise use of a walking boot, cast, or surgery to treat a severe ankle sprain.
It is important to allow time for the injured ligament to heal completely to prevent permanent damage and reduce the risk of re-injury when an ankle sprain occurs. If you need help determining how long each phase of recovery should be for your particular injury, contact us today at 201.729-0001. We offer weekday and weekend appointments. You can find us at our conveniently located clinics in West Orange, Aberdeen, and Lyndhurst.