American Hospital Blog

Sprained ankle

Sprained ankle

A sprained ankle happens when a sudden twist or turn of the ankle occurs, causing a stretch or tear of the strong bands of tissue (ligaments) that support holding the ankle bones together.
These ligaments sustain the joints and protect them from excessive movements. When these ligaments are pushed exceeding their usual limit of motion, a sprain occurs, causing damages to the ligaments towards the outer side of the ankle.

Generally, people heal sprains with self-care and over-the-counter pain medications. A medical evaluation is helpful to determine the severity of the injury and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Understand the symptoms

Symptoms change depending on the severity of the injury caused to the ankle, generally may include tenderness, swelling, bruising, pain when you bear weight on the affected foot, limiting motion, causing instability in the ankle, popping sensation or sound at the time of injury.

Consult the doctor

Talk to your doctor when there is pain and swelling in your ankle and you suspect a sprain. Ask the doctor if you need to have your ankle evaluated. Usually, self-care measures are sufficient for healing, but if the ligament damage is severe or broken the bone in your ankle or lower leg, a doctor can help you with the treatment plan.

Know the causes

A sprain happens when the ankle is compelled to push out of its normal position, resulting in the ankle's ligaments to stretch and tear, entirely or partially. It may happen when you have a fall causing an ankle to twist; after jumping or pivoting, you land awkwardly on your foot; while walking or exercising on an uneven surface or just when someone steps or lands on your foot during a sports activity.

Recognize the risks

People are most likely to sprain an ankle during:

• During sports participation, ankle sprains usually may occur when the game requires jumping, rolling, cutting action, or twisting the foot like basketball, tennis, football, soccer, and trail running.
• Walking or running on rough and uneven surfaces can raise the risk of an ankle sprain.
• Post ankle injury, you are more vulnerable to spraining it again.
• When you lack the strength or flexibility in the ankles, it is more likely to sprain during sports participation.
• Wearing improper shoes suitable for activity and high-heels generally raise the risk of ankle injuries.

Associated complexities

A sprain in the ankle must heal adequately; neglecting to treat it properly, involving in activities too soon, or spraining the ankle again can lead to chronic ankle pain, joint instability, or arthritis in the ankle joint.

Measures for prevention

These tips help prevent sprains and limits situations of its recurring:

• Always warm up before sports play and workouts.
• Carefully walk and run when working on jagged surfaces.
• Take the support of an ankle brace or tape on a weak or previously injured ankle.
• Wear appropriate shoes made for your activity and avoid wearing heals, where ever possible.
• Don't engage in activities or play sports that you can be comfortably involved in.
• Prepare to strengthen and enhance the flexibility of the muscle.
• Practice balance exercises to improve stability.

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