Ankle sprain is a very common injury that occurs when the ligaments of the ankle are torn. Some ankle sprains are severe that they may result to long-term damage on the joints. To prevent these problems from occurring, proper care and treatment should be given to a sprained ankle.
What Are The Causes Of Ankle Sprains?
Ankle sprain happens when a person steps on an uneven surface and loses his balance or when he makes a sudden, shifting movement while the foot is on the ground. Such movement causes the ankle to roll inward or outward while the foot is turned the other way. The ligaments of the ankle will be stretched and torn because of this. For some cases, the damage may include the tendons and the other ligaments near the ankle. This may cause too much pain so it should be evaluated by the doctor.
How Are Ankle Sprains Diagnosed?
An orthopedic specialist will assess the severity of the sprained ankle. It will be graded as mild, moderate or severe. Mild sprains are graded with 1. This means that the fibers are slightly stretched and the ligaments are minimally damaged. Grade 2 is given for moderate sprains. This means that the ligaments are partially torn and there is a slight looseness of the joints. Grade 3 is given if the ligaments are completely torn.
It is important to see a specialist right away if there is a suspected ankle sprain. The orthopedic specialist will need to assess and evaluate ankle to identify the proper treatment needed. X-rays or MRI may be ordered as well. The patient will be interviewed about the injury history and the doctor will check the appearance of the ankle to know the severity of the sprain.
How Are Ankle Sprains Treated according to the ankle specialist Texas?
Proper care and treatment are needed for the sprained ankle to heal quickly. Mild sprains usually need rest to heal, while severe cases may require casting, splinting and surgery.
The mnemonics RICE can used for a grade 1 ankle sprain. This means Rest, Ice, Compression and Evaluation.
a. Rest – Resting means refraining from walking with the affected ankle. Crutches may be
used to assist the patient when walking.
b. Ice – This should be wrapped in a clean cloth and applied to the affected ankle for at least 20 minutes. This should be done at least four times a day to relieve the pain and reduce the swelling.
c. Compression – Immobilizing the affected ankle will provide support and will prevent further damage of the ankle.
d. Elevate – The sprained ankle should be raised above the level of the heart during the first 48 hours following the injury.
The RICE method is also applicable for a grade 2 ankle sprain. This usually takes more time to heal and the doctor may require the use of a device to immobilize and support the affected ankle while it heals.
Grade 3 sprains may cause long-term instability for patients. Some cases may require surgery, while others will just need casting for two to three weeks. The doctor may even prescribe ultrasound and physical therapy to prevent chronic ankle problems.
A surgery is recommended by the orthopedic specialist if the affected ankle does not improve with leg casts or braces for three weeks. Reconstructive surgery is done to repair the torn ligaments and graft it with other ligaments, while the arthroscopic surgery uses an arthroscope to view the joints inside and see if there are loose bone fragments and broken cartilages.
How do ankle sprains resolve?
The recovery process of the ankle sprains involves three phases:
Phase 1 – Rest and protection of the affected ankle to reduce swelling. This phase lasts for a week.
Phase 2 – Restoration of range of motion and mobilization which may take up to two weeks.
Phase 3 – Going back to the normal routine and activities. This phase may last up to a few months.