Most sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle. Sprained ankles account for 15 percent of all athletic injuries.
Failing to treat a sprained ankle properly, engaging in activities too soon after spraining your ankle or spraining your ankle repeatedly might lead to chronic ankle pain, chronic ankle joint instability and/or arthritis in the ankle joint.
Cause of a sprained ankle
More than 20,0000 Americans sprain their ankles every day and the injury can occur by simply taking an awkward step from a curb. It’s one of those injuries that is virtually impossible to prevent. Causes of a sprained ankle might include:
- Walking or exercising on an uneven surface
- Stepping into a hole in your yard or on an athletic field
- Slipping on a slippery gym floor
- A fall that causes your ankle to twist
- Landing awkwardly on your foot after jumping or pivoting
- Another person stepping or landing on your foot during a sports activity
What are the symptoms of a sprained ankle?
Symptoms of a sprained ankle vary depending on the severity of the injury. They may include:
- Pain, especially when you bear weight on the affected foot
- Tenderness when you touch the ankle
- Swelling and/or bruising
- Stiffness and reduced range of motion
- Instability in the ankle
- Popping sensation or sound at the time of injury
You will generally know when you’ve sprained your ankle – you’ll develop a limp and feel the pain — but you should always have a foot and ankle specialist assess the severity of the injury.
How is a sprained ankle diagnosed and treated?
Treatment for a sprained ankle depends on the severity of the injury. Although self-care measures and over-the-counter pain medications may be all you need, a medical evaluation might be necessary to reveal how badly you’ve sprained your ankle and to determine the appropriate treatment.
The doctors at Augusta Foot & Ankle will conduct a thorough physical exam to rule out a bone fracture or other serious injury. They’ll manipulate your foot and ankle to determine which ligaments and/or bones are affected and to rule out nerve and arterial injury. They will also check your Achilles tendon for tears. If they determine your injury is severe, they will order X-rays to check for fractures. They may also order additional imaging tests including MRI, ultrasound or a CT Scan.
Depending on the results of the physical examination and imaging, your doctor will likely recommend rest, ice, compression, and elevation to reduce pain and inflammation. He may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers or order braces to support your ankle.
In servere injuries with continued pain and/or instability, arthroscopic surgery may be recommended. Ankle arthroscopy is surgery that uses a tiny camera and surgical tools to examine or repair the tissues inside and around your ankle. The procedure allows the doctor to detect problems and make repairs to your ankle without more extensive open ankle surgery.
Reconstructive surgery is typically performed only when conservative treatment has failed for chronic ankle instability or chronic ankle pain. The type of ankle procedure reconstructs and tightens the ankle ligaments and recreates the normal support for which the ankle ligaments are designed.
Call Augusta Foot & Ankle to schedule an appointment today and learn how to treat and rehabilitate your sprained ankle successfully.