Understanding Ankle Sprains

Understanding Ankle Sprains

July 1, 2015

If you’re an athlete it’s more than likely that you’ve suffered from an ankle sprain. An ankle sprain is an injury that occurs when the ligament that connects the foot, ankle and lower leg bones is excessively stretched or torn, causing pain and discomfort. While this injury is one of the most common Brampton sports injuries, it doesn’t mean that it may not be serious.

Types of ankle sprains

There are a few different types of ankle sprains that can occur. One of the types of sprains that can occur is an inversion injury. An inversion injury happens when the ankle rolls to the outside and the foot turns inward, stretching and tearing the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.

The other type of injury is an eversion injury, which is just the opposite of the inversion. The eversion is where the ankle rolls inward and the foot rolls outward, damaging the ligaments in the inside of the ankle.

The third type of injury is a high ankle sprain. High ankle sprains are less common than the inversion or eversion sprains and happen when the ligaments that join the two lower leg bones are damaged. This can happen if the leg is forcefully twisted or the foot is forced up.

Severity of an ankle sprain

While there are different types of ankle sprains that can happen, there are also different levels of severity that can be assigned to the sprain.

Grade I. Grade I sprains are your lighter stretches or tears causing some mild tenderness, stiffness and minor swelling. With a grade I sprain you are able to stabilize yourself on your ankle and can walk if needed without feeling much pain.

Grade II. Grade II sprains are a step up from grade I and typically have more pain and discomfort, even some bruising. You are still able to be stable walking on the ankle but it is much more painful.

Grade III. Grade II sprains are when the ligament or ligaments are completely torn and result in severe swelling, bruising and the inability to walk or be stable. The pain is much more intense and the ankle gives out when pressure is applied.

Treating a sprained ankle

Just like any other Brampton sports injuries you may endure, treating your sprained ankle properly can help you feel better and prevent chronic pain and instability on that ankle. Here are ways you can treat your ankle based on the grade.

For a Grade I sprain:

  • Rest. Obtain crutches and/or a brace and apply as little pressure to your ankle as possible. This means no walking or putting weight on the ankle at all.
  • Ice. Applying ice to the injured ankle can keep the swelling down and help minimize any pain. Apply ice 20 minutes at a time but be sure to keep cloth or clothing between the ice and your bare skin as to avoid frostbite.
  • Compression. Obtaining a brace or some sort of compression brace that can be wrapped around your ankle will help control swelling and support the ankle so it can heal properly.
  • Elevation. Elevate your ankle by reclining and propping your foot up on some pillows above the level of your heart.

For a grade II sprain you want to follow the same steps as above, but you’ll have to do that for longer. Speak with your local doctor or sports therapist to determine the time frame.

A grade III ankle sprain must be handled with care because you can risk permanent damage. If you are diagnosed with a grade III ankle sprain, it’s more than likely that your doctor or specialist will apply a cast and require you to be off of your ankle for two or three weeks. Surgery is sometimes needed, but not all the time.

 

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