Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries seen by foot and ankle specialists. A sprain occurs when ligaments that connect two bones are either stretched or torn. Most frequently, sprains are a result of a sports injury, but they can also happen with many daily activities.
When the ankle is twisted beyond it's normal capacity one of two things will happen:
- Sprain - Ligaments will stretch and possibly tear
- Fracture - Twisting forces cause the ankle bones to break
A thorough evaluation is necessary to identify what all structures may have been injured. Inability to accurately diagnose the injury may result in a longer recovery period and increased probability of surgery.
Ankle x-rays are commonly utilized to rule out a fracture. Often times, fractures of the foot may go unrecognized, with a limited physical examination. If there is suspicion for a foot fracture, your doctor will obtain both foot and ankle x-rays.
MRI is an excellent way to evaluate the ligaments and tendons for possible tear or sprain. Although MRI can provide abundant information, it is usually not required, or cost effective, in treating ankle sprains. Your doctor may order an MRI if your injury is complex, or if your symptoms are not improving with standard treatment protocol.
For more information about ankle sprains, view the video below:
Treatment for acute ankle sprains involves the basic tenants of injury care, or PRICE:
- Protection - Patients will often require an ankle brace or Fracture Boot, for more severe injuries.
- Rest - Limiting activity allows the ligaments to heal.
- Ice - Using ice will help decrease inflammation and pain.
- Compression - Compression bandages will decrease inflammation and pain.
- Elevation - Elevation of the injured leg decreases inflammation and pain.
- CLICK HERE To Learn More About the Techniques of PRICE
Injuries that Can Occur With "Twisting Ankle":
- Ankle Sprain
- Ankle Fracture
- Syndesmosis Injury (High Ankle Sprain)
- Osteochondral Lesion of Talus (OLT)
- Metatarsal Fracture
- Peroneal Tendon Tear/Dislocation
- Cuboid Fracture
- Calcaneus Fracture
The time involved in treating the sprain depends heavily on the severity of the injury. Activity modifications can be necessary for as little as a few days, or as long as a few weeks. Every person responds differently to different levels of injury, so it is important to communicate with your doctor and therapist, in order to determine when it is safe to return to full activities.
Anti-inflammatory and prescription pain medicines are commonly prescribed to reduce symptoms.
Physical Therapy is of critical importance when treating ankle sprains. Therapy is instrumental in the re-education of injured ligaments and tendons. If the injured structures do not "re-learn" how to perform their job, the likelihood for recurrent injuries and ankle instability increases dramatically. Therapy will also help to reduce inflammation and pain, and restore normal range of motion to the foot and ankle.
There is very rarely an indication for surgery immediately after an ankle sprain, regardless of the severity. Most of the time, the ligaments will heal themselves, and physical therapy will retrain the ligaments how to function properly. The main indication for surgery is a history of multiple or recurrent ankle sprains. Multiple ankle sprains can lead to Ankle Instability, which is often requires a surgical solution.
If you have sustained one or multiple Ankle Sprains, Call us at 512-593-2949 or CLICK HERE to Schedule an Appointment.