Thursday, April 22, 2010

Painful Ankle Sprains

A common injury that causes ankle pain is an ankle sprain. A sprained ankle occurs when the ankle rolls over or the foot inverts causing the ligaments around the ankle to be stretched or damaged. The most common ankle ligament that is damaged is the talo-fibula ligament. In more severe sprains the calcaneo-fibula ligament will be damaged too.
(courtesy of the National Institutes of Health)

The various signs of ankle sprains:
  1. Pain on weight bearing
  2. Pain on ankle rotation
  3. Swelling around ankle
  4. Ankle warm to touch

How an ankle heals is determined by how quickly treatment is commenced. The basic principle for treating all ankle sprains is based on the acronym R.I.C.E and anti-inflammatory medication. The acronym R.I.C.E. stands for:
R-rest (do not walk on it)
I-ice to reduce inflammation
C-Compressive bandages to immobilize the ankle
E- Elevate the ankle above the heart for 48 hours as much as possible

If the ankle does not improve after 48 hours then you should consult a medical professional, because the ankle could be fractured as well as sprained. If the ankle does improve after 48 hours there should be adequate physical therapy and a gradual return to physical activities.  There are a number of things that can be done to prevent ankle sprains through proper stretching and strengthening the muscle around the ankle and foot.

The severity of an ankle sprain is determined by the pain of the patient on weight bearing, number of ligaments damaged, and by the integrity of the joint structures. For some people sprains are due to bad luck. However, there are some people who are pre-disposed to ankle sprains. Those pre-disposing factors are:
  1. Poor rehabilitation of a previous sprained ankle
  2. Certain foot types are prone to ankle sprains due their foot and ankle relationship
  3. Weak muscle around the ankle that are not strong enough to protect the ankle from rolling over the foot
When an ankle sprain is not properly treated it can lead to future strains and chronic ankle pain. So the next time you have an ankle sprain make sure it is adequately treated. If you have chronic ankle pain or have an ankle sprain that last longer than 48 hours see your local podiatrist. For more information on ankle sprains check out of website.

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