So you just sprained your ankle, what should you do? Many people underestimate their ankle sprain and end up ignoring it. What if you leave an Ankle Sprain untreated? Did you know that by putting up with the pain and swelling for too long you may be further injuring your ankle? If an ankle sprain is not diagnosed or treated properly the ligaments stretch out leading to further injury. Repeated ankle sprains can lead to Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI) and Osteoarthritis.
Call For An Appointment: (814) 882-2663
Who among us has not sprained an ankle or a ligament? These injuries are extremely common both in children and adults. According to the authors at UpToDate, ankle sprains are the number one injury seen at the emergency room! People have sprained an ankle while running, jumping or even walking their dog! Uneven surfaces are notorious for causing us to “Roll” our ankles.
What to do Immediately after an Ankle Sprain
First, Rest. Get off of the injured ankle. Do not walk on it any longer than you have to, do not keep running or cycling. Ice. Apply cold compress or an ice bag, the cold actually helps relieve inflammation. Compression. Apply an ACE bandage or elastic ankle support. Elevation. Prop the leg up at an elevation higher than your chest or just on a chair, by propping it up you reduce swelling.
Types of Ankle Sprains
According to the National Institutes of Health, NIH; http://sph.sagepub.com/ Lateral ankle sprains comprised 91.74%, medial ankle sprains 0.26%, high ankle sprains 0.18%, and “unknown” 7.82%
The problem is that many are never diagnosed nor treated properly.
Which Ligaments are injured in an Ankle Sprain?
Please see the images below.
How Long will it take my ankle sprain to Heal?
The time to heal depends upon the Severity or Grade of ankle sprain
Grades of Ankle Sprains and average Healing Time
Grade 1: Mild stretching, no tearing. Recovery time 1-3 weeks.
Grade 2: Partial tear, mild to moderate joint instability. Recovery time 3-6 weeks
Grade 3: Complete tear, loss of function, inability to bear weight. Recovery time several months.
The severity of an Ankle Sprain is dependent upon the number of ligaments injured, the more ligaments injured the more severe the sprain and subsequently, the longer the recovery. Most ankle sprains do not require surgery, however; if there is a Grade 3 complete tear surgery is recommended.
Is it Safe to Walk on an Ankle Sprain?
It is best to Rest an injury for two reasons; First, by getting off the injured limb you prevent further damage and Pain, Second, only after a few hours to days can you tell how severe the injury is.
Preventing Further Injury
In order to recover from an ankle sprain properly and prevent further injury and arthritis it is best to seek medical care and rehabilitation. Dr. Danielle Torp at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, UNCC; led a study where patients with Chronic Ankle Instability were given biofeedback training in order to protect their ankles from further injury. Essentially, patients ‘Learned’ how to walk in a safer manner.
In an article published in July 2018, researchers Drs. Owoeye, Palacios-Derflingher and Emery found that a pre-practice warmup which includes Neuromuscular Training reduced the risk of Ankle Sprain by 32%.
Early diagnosis is key
As with all injures, early diagnosis and treatment results in not only less suffering but a more favorable outcome in the long term. If you get help early you will have a better outcome. The problem with ignoring these injuries is that the ligament will stretch and not heal properly, as a result it will be predisposed to further injury which will lead to even further injury eventually requiring surgery and likely irreversible consequences. Its a domino effect. Ankle sprain if ignored becomes weak. In my office I use diagnostics sensitive enough to reveal a ligament injury before an x-ray or MRI will reveal it. If you’ve sprained your ankle, I can help. Call for your appointment today. 814.882.2663.