Ankle sprains can occur due to a variety of reasons, and they are a common injury among athletes and non-athletes alike. However, ankle sprains can often be prevented with proper care, footwear, and strengthening exercises. If you do suffer from an ankle sprain, prompt treatment is essential, even if the injury appears minor. An untreated ankle sprain may lead to chronic ankle instability, which can be a persistent discomfort characterized by a “giving way” of the ankle.
When you twist your ankle or force it out of its normal position, the ligaments around your ankle can stretch or tear. There are varying degrees of ankle sprains (grade 1-3). Grade 1 ankle sprains result in stretched ligaments without any tears, leading to minor pain, swelling, stiffness, and tenderness. Grade 2 ankle sprains involve partial tearing of one of the ligaments, resulting in moderate pain, inflammation, tenderness, and ankle instability and weakness when standing or putting weight on the foot. Grade 3 ankle sprains indicate complete tearing of one or more ligaments, resulting in severe symptoms. Your ankle may feel like it gives out whenever you bear weight or are in motion.
Ankle sprains treatment depends on the severity of the injury. Patients dealing with minor symptoms associated with a grade 1 sprain will heal with proper home care, which includes the RICE method (rest, ice, elevation, and compression). You may also take an over-the-counter pain reliever to alleviate discomfort as the sprain heals. Most minor sprains will heal within 1-3 weeks. Patients with moderate or grade 2 sprains may also follow the RICE method to manage symptoms. They may also need to immobilize or wear a splint until the ankle has healed. Some patients will benefit from physical therapy and rehabilitation to restrengthen the ligaments in the injured ankle.
More severe sprains (grade 3) will require immobilization as well as other treatment options. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the torn ligament. Dr. Gilbert Huang DPM can assist you in diagnosing the severity of the injury and provide an appropriate treatment plan.
Ankle sprains result from a fall, a sudden twist, or a blow that forces the ankle joint out of its normal position. They often occur while participating in sports, wearing inappropriate shoes, or walking or running on an uneven surface. Sometimes ankle sprains occur because a person is born with weak ankles or due to a previous ankle or foot injury that weakened the ankle and led to sprains.
The symptoms of ankle sprains include pain or soreness, swelling, bruising, difficulty walking, and stiffness in the joint. These symptoms may vary in intensity, depending on the severity of the sprain.
When you have an ankle sprain, rehabilitation is essential and starts promptly. Dr. Gilbert Huang DPM may recommend you rest, apply ice to the injured area, use an elastic wrap to control swelling, and elevate the ankle slightly above the level of your heart to reduce swelling. Your doctor will also start you on a rehabilitation program as soon as possible to promote healing and increase your range of motion. This includes doing prescribed exercises and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, to reduce pain and inflammation. In some cases, prescription pain medications are needed to provide adequate relief.
In more severe cases, surgery may be required, particularly among competitive athletes, to adequately treat an ankle sprain. Surgery often involves repairing the damaged ligament or ligaments. After surgery, rehabilitation is extremely important, and Dr. Gilbert Huang DPM can help you ensure that your ankle heals properly and function is restored.
To prevent ankle sprains, maintain strength, balance, and flexibility in the foot and ankle through exercise and stretching and wear well-fitted shoes. Don’t let an ankle sprain go unaddressed. Visit Dr. Gilbert Huang DPM to ensure that you get a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment for your injury. Contact our San Mateo office at (650) 342-5733 or our San Ramon office at (925) 829-4641 today to schedule an appointment.