Among sports injuries, ankle sprains are the most common. Ankle sprains occur in approximately 25% of all athletic injuries. Sprains of the ankle can range from mild to severe and take several weeks or even months to heal fully.
The main causes of ankle sprains include a sudden change in direction, turning your ankle too far inward or outward, or landing on an uneven surface. Most ankle sprains occur when the ligaments that support the ankle are stretched or torn. Symptoms of an ankle sprain include pain, swelling, and difficulty walking.
When you suffer an ankle sprain, you should follow the proper rehabilitation protocol to get back to your sport as quickly as possible. Throughout this blog post, we will explore the causes and symptoms of ankle sprain, as well as the treatment and rehabilitation process.
What is an Ankle Sprain?
Sprained ankles are injuries that can occur during sports or other physical activities. It is the result of the ankle joint being twisted or turned beyond its normal range of motion. This can cause the ligaments that support the joint to stretch or tear.
The ankle may feel unstable and difficult to walk on. An ankle sprain’s severity is based on the extent of the ligament damage. A partial tear may cause mild pain and swelling, while a complete tear can result in severe pain and instability.
Causes of Ankle Sprains
There are several causes of ankle sprains. The most common cause is when the foot is turned inward (inversion), causing the ankle ligaments on the outside to stretch or tear. This type of sprain is commonly seen in basketball, football, and tennis.
Ankle sprains can also occur when the foot is turned outward (eversion). This type of sprain is less common but can be seen in activities such as skiing or skateboarding.
Other causes of ankle sprains include:
- Landing on an uneven surface
- Stepping on someone else’s foot
- Walking or running on slippery or icy surfaces
- Wearing shoes that do not fit properly
Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain
Ankle sprains usually happen suddenly, and the most common symptom is pain. Also, a popping or snapping sensation may occur at the injury time. Other symptoms may include:
- Tenderness to touch
- Difficulty bearing weight on the affected foot
- Instability in the joint
Ankle sprains can be range from mild to severe. A mild sprain may only cause slight pain and tenderness, while a severe sprain can result in significant pain, swelling, and bruising.
Treatment of Ankle Sprains
The treatment for an ankle sprain will depend on the severity of the injury.
For a mild ankle sprain, you may only need to rest, ice the area, and wrap the ankle with an elastic bandage. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help relieve pain and swelling.
If the sprain is more severe, you may need to wear a splint or a walking boot to stabilize the ankle and help protect it from further injury. You may also need physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the ankle joint.
Severe ankle sprains may require surgery to repair torn ligaments or other damage to the joint.
Prevention Tips for Avoiding Ankle Sprains in the Future
There are several ways to help prevent ankle sprains, including:
Wearing proper shoes – Make sure your shoes fit well and provide adequate support for your feet. You should avoid high heels and shoes that don’t offer good support.
Stretching and strengthening – Stretch and strengthen the muscles and ligaments around your ankle joint. This can help make the joint more stable and less likely to be injured.
Avoiding risky activities – Be aware of the risk of ankle injury when participating in activities such as tennis, basketball, or football. Avoiding these activities altogether may not be realistic, but being aware of the risks can help you be more cautious and take steps to prevent injury.
Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries, and they can range from mild to severe. If you experience pain, swelling, or difficulty walking after an ankle sprain, be sure to seek medical attention. Depending on the severity of your sprain, it may take several weeks or even months for your ankle to heal fully.
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