Ankle sprains are very common injuries, especially among athletes, but also among non-athletes. Around 25,000 people sprain their ankles every day. There are countless ways that a sprained ankle can occur. This injury can happen when you fall during a sporting activity or while running down steps, step the wrong way on your ankle, roll your ankle or jump and land in the wrong position.
What Is An Ankle Sprain?
A sprain actually occurs when a ligament, which is the elastic structure holding the ankle together and protecting it from unusual movement, stretches too far beyond its natural limitations. Some ankle sprains are severe. These occur when the ligament overstretches and then actually tears.
There are three different degrees of ankle sprain, the first being mild and easily treated with some rest, and the second two being more serious, requiring splinting and maybe even physical therapy.
Rarely, a bad ankle sprain requires reconstructive surgery to repair the elastic ankle ligaments, but most sprains can be handled with splints, rest and eventual therapy. The good news is that it’s possible to treat sprained ankles effectively, and to take preventative measures to reduce their occurrence in high school sports.
A sprained ankle involves the pulling or tearing of ligaments. Interestingly, the reason why the injury isn’t referred to as a “strain” is that a strain always refers to an injury involving a muscle.
Ankle strains can also involve damage to joint tissues, such as tendons and bones. Remember that it’s always crucial to get an X-ray after potential ankle sprains, to determine what (if any) damage has occurred.
The 3 Main Types of Ankle Sprains
There are 3 main types of ankle sprains: inversion, eversion, and high ankle. We talked a lot about high ankle sprains in this article. But let’s also talk about inversion and eversion.
Inversion Ankle Sprains
Probably the most common ankle sprain is the inversion sprain. This is where the base of the foot rolls inward and overly flexes the muscles. And since the muscle stretches beyond it’s normal limit, it causes the ankle sprain.
The pain is typically on the outside of the ankle since those ligaments are what stretched. Take a look at this picture and you and see the common area that will turn purple and feel the pain.
Everson Ankle Sprains
An eversion ankle sprain is rare and happens when the ankle rolls too far inwards. It is often joined by a fracture of the fibula bone. The athlete will more often than not know they have sprained their ankle.
There will be an immediate pain in the ankle in the wake of twisting it. There will be rapid swelling, and the wound may create. They will experience issues with weight bearing and constrained motion.
If you’re questioning your sprain on a severe eversion ankle sprain, it is highly recommended that an x-ray is asked for to rule out fractures.
High Ankle Sprains
Symptoms of a high ankle sprain incorporate pain when pressing in on the tibiofibular ligament which joins the tibia and fibula at the base of the leg/top of the ankle. Swelling and wounding will be seen at the front and outside of the ankle. The athlete will experience issues strolling, and when the ankle is turned and does which is flexed with toes and legs pushed upwards the pain will be repeated.
Treatment For Ankle Sprains
After spraining an ankle, the first treatment should be RICE compression, and (E)levation. These actions are crucial to help reduce the amount of swelling that occurs. After placing ice on the injured ankle, the athlete should then wrap an ACE bandage around the ankle. Also, an anti-inflammatory product can help to reduce the swelling and pain during the first 7-10 days following the injury.
After the pain starts to subside, you can use additional treatments to help the ankle heal as quickly as possible. For example, “range of motion” exercises can make the ankle more flexible and reduce the amount of swelling. Another method is to stretch out the calf muscles gently, in order to improve the movement of the joint.
Another treatment option is over-the-counter pain medication, for example, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may soothe symptoms.
Wrapping This Up
Here are the basics of ankle sprains. Hope it was informative and you learned what to do and how to do a basic assessment. Remember, always consult a professional when dealing with extreme situations. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. You could mistake a bad sprain for a fractured ankle and do far more damage than help.