Some injuries, like turf toe, are mostly confined to those who participate in athletic events. People may associate ankle sprains with sports, but anyone can incur a sprained ankle from time to time. All it takes is a misstep on a curb or slippery surface and your ankle can twist further than it is intended to. This is one of the most common injuries you will find and it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms and know when you need treatment.
The Anatomy of an Ankle
Your ankle is an essential joint for keeping you mobile and independent. It is comprised of three bones: the tibia, fibula, and the talus. The tibia and fibula are the bones in your lower leg and they connect to the talus, which sits above the heel bone. You have numerous ligaments that bind your leg bones and foot bones to each other. Your ankle actually has two different joints—the ankle joint and the subtalar joint. The ankle joint enables you to move your foot up and down and the subtalar allows you to move it from side to side.
Taking It Too Far
A sprained ankle typically happens when your foot is planted and you make a sudden shifting movement. This can happen when the outside half your foot is off a curb and your body weight pushes down, thereby causing the foot to roll inward and the ankle to roll outward. As this happens, the ligaments on the outside edge that connect the bones in the joint will stretch excessively and tear.
At the time of an ankle sprain, pain will be felt immediately at the site of the torn ligament. Swelling and sometimes even bruising will happen right away. You will notice that the ankle is tender to your touch and hurts when moved. In cases of more severe sprains, the pain will be extreme and you cannot walk or even put any weight on the affected foot.
RICE: Not Just for Dinner
When treating an ankle sprain, the best place to start is by using the RICE method:
Rest – Avoid activities that irritate the affected area.
Ice – Apply an ice pack once every hour or two for 10 to 20 minutes. Do this for the first 24 to 72 hours following your injury until swelling is decreased. Do not put ice directly on your skin. Make sure you have at least a thin cloth between.
Compression – In order to further reduce the swelling, use an elastic compression wrap for the first 24 to 36 hours. This is not intended to offer protection for the ankle, rather it is useful in promoting blood flow to help heal the injured area.
Elevation – Help reduce the bruising and swelling by raising the affected ankle above your heart’s level for a couple of hours a day. To do this, lie down on the couch or your bed and prop up your ankle on a couple of pillows.
In addition, you may want to reduce pain and swelling with the use of over-the-counter pain relievers with doctor approval.
Beyond the RICE method, rehab exercises are important for making a full recovery from your injury. Your want to ensure that the sprained ankle heals properly so as to avoid the potential of developing chronic pain or a weak ankle, which will only increase the likelihood of reinjuring it. We can help you by providing rehab to your ankles that will help strengthen your injured area and allow you to get back to your pre-injury state.
Shenandoah Podiatry is here for all of your foot and ankle issues, including ankle sprains. When you need the foremost podiatric care, make an appointment at either our Roanoke or Blacksburg, VA, locations. Simply call (540) 904-1458 for our Roanoke office, (540) 808-4343 for our Blacksburg office, or schedule an appointment online today.