Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle doesn’t only happen to athletes, but it can be a very common injury when playing sports. Sprains can result from sudden twisting, turning, or rolling movements. They often occur when playing sports that call for a quick change of direction, require you to keep your balance on an uneven surface, or when landing on another player’s foot. The painful injury occurs when one or more of the ankle ligaments is stretched beyond the normal range of motion.

Ankle sprains are the most common injury of the lower leg and are categorized in three types:

  • Lateral ankle sprains, when the foot rolls inward

  • Medial ankle sprains, when the foot rolls outward

  • High ankle sprains, when the foot rolls outward and the leg turns inward

Simple sprains may reach recovery in as little as one to two weeks, while more severe instances may require a few months to heal. Surgery is typically not required, but proper rehabilitation for even minor sprains should be followed diligently. Insufficient healing can make you more vulnerable to future injuries and can result in chronic ankle instability.

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  • Pain and swelling around the outside or inside of the ankle
  • Tenderness when you touch the ankle
  • Bruising around the outside or inside of the ankle, this may also include the foot and toes
  • Pain or instability when walking
  • Hearing or feeling a pop in your ankle joint at the time of injury
  • Loss of movement in the ankle joint
  • Landing poorly after jumping or pivoting
  • Exercising on an uneven surface
  • Falling or twisting your ankle
  • Exercising or playing sports on slippery or uneven ground
  • Exercising or playing sports when your muscles are tired and less likely to provide support
  • Wearing improper shoes that do not provide adequate support and stability
  • Poor physical condition
  • A history of ankle sprains
  • Description of your symptoms and medical history
  • Physical examination to evaluate condition of the ankle
  • X-ray to rule out fracture or bone injuries
  • MRI may be used to determine the extent of your injury
  • CT scan may be used to determine more details about the condition of the bones of the joint
  • RICE therapy: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
  • Nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief
  • Physical therapy
  • Bracing or taping the ankle prior to exercise or playing sports to increase stability
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