What is a sprained ankle? Everything you should know about it

sprained ankle

The ankle joint helps connect the foot with the lower leg. There are three ligaments that help prevent the ankle bones from shifting out of place. When any of these ligaments are stretched out or damaged, they may result in a condition called an ankle sprain. An ankle sprain is classified into three different categories, including:

Mild or grade I sprain: In this condition, the ligament is stretched but not torn. You still feel stability in your ankle. However, you may feel pain and stiffness in your ankle.  

Moderate or grade II sprain: Moderate sprain may result in one or more ligaments partially tearing. The condition makes you feel instability in your ankle, and you can not move your ankle as much as usual. Common symptoms of a moderate sprain are swelling and moderate pain.   

Severe or grade III sprain: A condition happens when one or more ligaments are completely torn. You feel complete instability and intense pain even though you cannot move your ankle.  

What causes an ankle sprain

Any movement or action that stretches your ankle from its normal position can hurt your ligaments. It usually results when your ankle is twisted or rolled inward. The following are the major causes leading to the ankle sprain.

  • Foot planting: You may plant your foot the wrong way, especially when you run, step up or down, or during other daily life routines.
  • Walking on uneven surfaces: stepping or walking on uneven surfaces can cause your foot to twist or roll inwards, causing a sprain.
  • Step on someone else: It usually happens during sports when you accidentally step on another player’s foot, causing your foot to twist or roll.

Besides this, there are several other risk factors contributing to the development of an ankle sprain, and these include:

  • Improper footwear or high heels
  • Balance problems
  • Weak or stiffed ankles
  • Participating in high-contact sports involving running and other foot practices

Symptoms of a sprained ankle

Whenever you feel the following symptoms during or after sports or other strenuous activities, you may have developed an ankle sprain:

Pain: You may feel pain in your ankle. After spraining the ankle, your nerves become more sensitive. Your ankle joint hurts or may throb. The pain becomes severe when you press the injured area. However, the pain makes your movements difficult while sitting, standing, or walking.

Bruising or swelling: Sometimes, the swelling is severe to such an extent that you may find a visible indent when pressing the swollen area.

Warmth and redness: Sprain to the ankle causes more blood to flow to the affected areas, causing warmth and redness.

Instability: A sprained ankle may result in instability. Mild or moderate sprain makes you feel slight instability. However, you feel complete instability when the ligaments are completely torn.    

Trouble walking: a sprain in the ankle may also limit the range – how much you can move your ankle.  

How to Diagnose an ankle sprain?

It is advisable to leave the training court, tournament, or workplace whenever you feel any of the symptoms mentioned above. Moreover, you should never leave the symptoms untreated and consult your healthcare advisors as soon as possible. Remember that leaving the symptoms untreated may worsen or convert to serious issues that may take longer to heal. Your healthcare provider will perform several methods, including physical checkups or radiological tests, to diagnose the actual problem.

Physical checkup: During a physical checkup, your healthcare professional may move your foot or ankle in a specified way to know what bones are affected. This physical checkup may also help them know other problems if any happen.

Radiological tests: If you suffer from a severe sprain and your GP cannot diagnose it properly, they may suggest some radiological tests, helping them diagnose the problem more clearly. MRIs, ultrasound, and CT scans are the most effective radiological tests that give a detailed picture of your bone. Based on the diagnosis, your healthcare provider will start treating the symptoms.

Best treatment plans for ankle sprain

The following are the best treatment plans to treat pain and other symptoms resulting from a sprained ankle:

Home treatments

If the sprain is mild to moderate, it can be recovered through home treatments. The following are the best and most effective home treatments suggested by experts to treat mild to moderate symptoms:

Rest: Provide your ankle with rest as much as you can. This helps avoid further injuries. For this purpose, you can also wear ankle braces for a sprained ankle to take the extra pressure off the ankle joints.

Ice massage: Icing is probably the bt treatment to treat the mild to moderate symptoms. It helps lower blood pressure and helps minimise warmth, swelling, and redness. Applying ice quickly after the injury helps prevent inflammation.

Compression: Compression helps reduce swelling and improve blood circulation, helping speed up recovery. Bracing helps provide the needed compression to the affected areas.

Elevation: Elevating the injured area helps your body absorb extra fluid. Elevating your ankle above your heart level is good to get maximum benefits.

Painkillers: Over-the-counter drugs help reduce pain and fight against swelling. It is advisable to take these over-the-counter drugs under the advice of your healthcare provider.

Medical treatments

When home treatments do not respond or if the symptoms are severe, your healthcare provider will suggest medical treatments. The following are the best and most effective medical treatments to get rid of the severe symptoms of a sprained ankle:

Physical therapy: Physical therapy helps improve the range of motion and keeps your ankle active and flexible.

Surgery: Mild to moderate sprains do not require surgery. However, if the sprain is severe and you are at a high risk of injury recurring, you might require surgery. The risk of recurring injury is high among people involved in many sports.

Find the best ankle braces  

Ankle injuries, such as the sprained ankle, are common among people involved in high contacts sports. As well as this, people whose occupation requires repetitive movements of feet and ankles are also at a high risk of injuries. Wearing ankle braces helps reduce the chances of ankle injuries. Moreover, they provide the injured ankles with the needed compressions and support, speeding up the recovery process. Ensure that you choose the best ankle support braces according to your needs, maximising the benefits. At 360 relief, you can find the best ankle support braces to help manage the ankle problems, such as ankle sprain.

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