Sprained ankle, what to do?

Sprained ankle, what to do?

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It only takes one misstep to… get yourself a beautiful one sprained ankle. A rather annoying problem, considering that although in most cases it is not a very serious injury, it can still keep you company for several weeks or months.

There sprained ankle is one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries in people of all ages, and especially in athletes.

This injury actually occurs when one or more ligaments in the ankle stretch or tear, causing it ache, swelling is difficulty walking.

Many people try to put up with ankle injuries and do not seek medical attention. But if a sprained ankle causes anything more than slight pain and swelling, then it is absolutely important to seek medical attention who can suggest proper treatment and rehabilitation. If this is not done, a severely injured ankle may not heal well and may lose its stability and range of motion, resulting in recurring sprains and more downtime in the future.

How the ankle can be sprained: types of ankle sprains

The most common type of sprained ankle and the inversion injury, or lateral ankle sprain. In this case, the foot "rolls" inwards, damaging the ligaments of the external ankle - the anterior talofibular ligament, the calcanofibular ligament and the posterior talofibular ligament.

Less common are distortions affecting the ligaments of the inner ankle (sprains of the medial ankle) and syndesmotic sprains, which damage the tibiofibular ligaments - the ligaments that join the two leg bones (the tibia and fibula) just above the ankle. Syndesmotic sprains, which occur most often in contact sports, are particularly likely to cause chronic ankle instability and subsequent sprains.

How severe is the ankle sprain

There severity of an ankle sprain it depends on how much damage it causes and how unstable the joint becomes. The more severe the sprain, the longer - unfortunately - the healing takes:

  1. first degree distortion: minimal elongation, no tearing. Mild pain, as well as swelling. There are usually no bruises. No joint instability. No difficulty in bearing the weight. The healing time is approximately 1 - 3 weeks;
  2. second degree sprain: partial tearing, with moderate pain and swelling. Possible bruising. Mild to moderate joint instability. Some loss of range and function. Pain due to weight and walking. The healing time is 3 - 6 weeks;
  3. third degree sprain: complete tear or break. Particularly intense pain and swelling, bruising. Considerable instability and loss of function and range of action. Inability to bear weight or walk. The healing time is several months.

What to do immediately after spraining your ankle

Having clarified the above, let's deal with the immediate treatment of ankle sprain.

The first objective is obviously that of decrease pain and swelling, and to protect the ligaments from further injury. This usually means adopting the classic regime of:

  • rest,
  • ice,
  • compression,
  • elevation.

In case of severe pain and swelling, rest your ankle as much as possible for the first 24 - 48 hours. During this time, soak your foot and ankle in cold water, or apply an ice pack (be sure to cover the ankle with a towel to protect the skin) for 15 - 20 minutes three to five times a day, or until the swelling begins to subside.

To reduce swelling, compress the ankle with an elastic compress. While seated, raise your ankle as high as possible, if possible at hip height. In the first 24 hours, avoid anything that could increase swelling, such as hot showers, hot compresses, or hot rubs. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help reduce pain and swelling and can also speed up recovery.

Read also: Sprained ankle, remedies

The functional treatment of ankle sprain

For fully recover from a sprained ankle, it is necessary to restore the normal range of motion of the ankle joint and strengthen its ligaments and supporting muscles. Several studies have shown that people return to their normal activities earlier when their treatment emphasizes restoring ankle function - often with the help of splints, braces, tapes, or elastic bandages - rather than immobilization (such as use of a plaster cast).

Called functional treatment, this strategy usually involves three stages: the regimen already seen in the last paragraph for the first 24 hours to reduce pain, swelling and the risk of further injury; movement and strengthening exercises within 48-72 hours; training to improve endurance and balance once recovery is well underway.

In general, you can begin mobility recovery and stretching exercises within the first 48 hours, and you should continue until you are free of pain, exactly as it was before the sprain.

You can start doing the exercises suggested by your doctor sitting in a chair or on the floor. As your ankle sprain improves, you can move on to standing exercises. If your symptoms don't improve within two to four weeks, you may need to see a physical therapist or other specialist.

Video: Ankle Sprain Treatments for Pain Relief - Ask Doctor Jo (May 2022).


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