What Should I Do If I Sprain My Ankle ?

Aug 06, 2021
What Is An Ankle Sprain?

Ankle sprains are very common, particularly in a sporting context, but not limited only to athletes. They can happen to anyone at any age and from simple mishaps like stepping on an uneven surface, or step down at an angle.

An ankle sprain will usually occur when someone “goes over on“ or “twists” their ankle, which typically involves an excessive inward movement or motion of the foot resulting in damage to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle joint. The opposite can occur with the foot rotating outwardly; however, this is less common as the ligaments on the inside of the ankle are much stronger. 

The extent of damage from a sprained ankle will vary depending on a number of factors including the force or velocity behind the motion. Spraining your ankle can increase your risks of future re-injury however there is much in the way of rehabilitation that you can do to limit the chances of instability and re-injury. 

 

How Will I Know If I Have Sprained My Ankle?

Signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain include:

  • Swelling; on the outside of the ankle, sometimes even into the foot. 
  • Bruising; can appear on the outside of the ankle
  • Stiffness; a feeling of tightness and inability to move the foot as freely as the opposite ankle
  • Pain; dependent on the individual and the extent of the injury
  • Weakness or feeling of instability; dependant on the extent of the injury.

If there is an inability to fully bear weight after spraining the ankle and extreme pain; it is advisable to consider the need for medical attention to rule out a broken ankle. 

 
What Should I Do Immediately After Spraining My Ankle?

It is very important following an ankle sprain to follow the PRICE regime. 

Protect

Rest

Ice

Compress

Elevate

 

Early intervention using the above regime which can be implanted from home can help to shorten recovery time and optimise rehabilitation. Ceasing the causing activity- i.e sport, icing the ankle to reduce pain and inflammation, compressing the joint to reduce inflammation and elevating it can all help to improve recovery prognosis.

If the injury is severe enough, using crutches to reduce the weight bearing on the ankle joint may also be warranted. 

In order to understand the extent of the damage to the ankle joint following a sprain, you should seek the help of South Dublin Podiatry Clinic ASAP who will use their skill and knowledge to assess the injury and provide you with a rehabilitation program to get you back in action.

 

How Bad Is My Ankle Sprain?

Ankle sprains are graded based on the level of damage to the individual ligament, over stretching the ligaments can cause weakness and sometimes a tear of the ligament. 

  • Grade 1 sprain:

Slight stretching and some damage to the ligament fibres.

  • Grade 2 sprain:

Partial tearing of the ligament. If the ankle joint is examined and moved in certain ways, abnormal looseness or laxity of the ankle joint occurs.

  • Grade 3 sprain:

Complete tear of the ligament. If examined pulling or pushing on the ankle joint in certain movements, gross instability occurs.

 

In What Other Way Will A Podiatrist Help My Sprained Ankle?

Following a diagnosis on the ankle sprain grade your podiatrist will best advise you on the necessary treatment intervention. Depending on the extent of the injury, your recovery time will vary from 2-3 weeks right up to 8 weeks (Grade 3).

Commonly, symptoms of an ankle sprain will leave individuals with some weakness, limited range of motion in the joint and some compromise of your balance or proprioception. Your physiotherapist will provide manual therapy interventions to help treat these symptoms and provide you with exercises to aide rehabilitation.

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