What is an Ankle Sprain?
The ankle joint is supported by ligaments all around, when it gets stretched due to injury its called a sprain of the ankle ligaments.
How does it happen?
Twisting injury can cause ankle sprains, which can happen while running or landing in an abnormal position after a jump.
Frequently Ankle twists inwards causing outside ligaments of the ankle to stretch causing pain.
A strong stable joint is given by strong ligaments which act as a shock absorber and support for your entire body when moving, but also allow sufficient movement for functions like running and jumping.
You may hear a popping sound and also notice swelling, bruising, ankle pain.
You may experience severe pain over the injured ligament. Depending on the severity of your ankle sprain, you may have trouble walking or standing on your foot, and sometimes there may be a fracture.
What should be done?
You should immediately apply the ‘RICE’ protocol, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, for the first 24–72 hours.
Rest– try not to put weight over injured ankle or walk
Ice– keep ice packs covered in a bag over the injury for 10–20 minutes several times a day.
Compression– by strapping, crepe bandage, or kinesiology taping.
Elevation– reduces swelling and aids circulation.
You should then see your doctor to start treatment and rehabilitation.
If you have a history of a sprained ankle and don’t want to reinjure it or have recurrent ankle sprains you can be proactive and see a Foot and ankle specialist to have your ankle assessed.
How a doctor can help?
Your Foot and ankle specialist is an expert in the assessment and diagnosis of ankle sprains. A thorough clinical examination will determine the severity of your injury. Different grades require different treatment strategies. You may also be referred for an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI scan if a fracture is suspected where plastering might be required.
How physiotherapy will help?
Earlier the treatment better the outcome. The aims of treatment include:
- Injury protection (strapping, kinesiology taping) and pain relief
- Regain full range of motion through physiotherapy
- Strengthen your ankle and calf muscles
- Restore joint proprioception and balance using balance mats and wobble boards
- Restore normal function, speed, and agility
- Sport-specific skills
- Graduated return to training
- Return to competition.
When can you play again?
Depending on the severity of injury in significant trauma, it takes at least 6 weeks to heal; however, your rehabilitation and your willpower play a very important role. So recovery can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months.
By Dr. Chetan Shetty, Orthopaedic specialist
Image source: Kindel Media