Ankle sprain

Ankle sprain athlete

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of ankle sprain

Overuse injuries are common among athletes. An ankle sprain is the most common sports injury belonging to this category. Normal people may also experience similar conditions due to accidental injuries. The current global incidence rate of ankle sprain is quite high. As per the statistics of the Cleveland Clinic, ankle sprain accounts for nearly 15% of the athletic injuries. People who undergo strenuous physical activities on a daily basis may also suffer from an ankle sprain. Proper diagnosis and treatment are mandatory in all such cases. Failure to do so may result in permanent damage and instability of the ankle.

 

What is ankle sprain?

Ankle sprain joggingAn ankle sprain is defined as the ankle injury that occurs due to stretching and tearing of the ligaments attached to the exterior or the interior portion of the ankle. It mainly results from an accidental turning in of the foot. The severity of the sprain depends on how many ligaments are affected. The pain and intensity of the condition vary, based on whether the ligament is stretched, partially torn or completely torn. These sprains are common in activities that require an exertion of the entire body weight on the ankles in the course of full range motions like running, jumping and landing. In most cases, the lateral ankle ligament is more affected than the medial ankle ligament, since the former is much thinner and weaker than the latter.

It needs to be mentioned that ankle sprain and ankle strain are two completely different phenomena. While sprain involves only the ligaments, ankle strain entails a severe damage to the muscles and tendons in the vicinity of the injured site.

 

What are the symptoms of an ankle sprain?

The symptoms of ankle sprain vary according to the degree of damage. The following signs are common-

  • Sharp throbbing pain at the site of injury
  • Swelling of the affected region
  • Reddish, bluish or purple discoloration of the injured foot
  • Temporary immobility of the affected ankle
  • Pain may radiate from the site of injury to the adjoining regions
  • The appearance of irregular bulges
  • Occasional bruising
  • Stiffness and inflammation of the affected joint(s)
  • Bleeding underneath the skin (ecchymosis)
  • Extreme tenderness

 

What are the different types of ankle sprain?

Ankle sprain athleteBased on the severity of the symptoms, ankle sprain is classified into three types-

Grade I: Mild stretching of the ligament fibers occurs, that results in mild and short-termed pain. The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) is stretched and a few ligament fibers may be torn. Swelling of the affected ankle and discoloration of the overlying skin generally occurs. The patient experiences mild to moderate difficulty in walking.

Grade II: Grade II sprains are relatively serious than Grade I sprains. Stretching and tearing of the ligament fibers occur in this case. A complete tear of the anterior talofibular ligament and a partial tear of the Calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) take place. Hemorrhage, tenderness, and swelling of the affected ankle occur. The patient may be advised to avoid movement of the ankle for a few days.

Grade III: These are the most severe ones. A complete tearing of one or more ligaments may occur in this case. Capsular tear and Posterior talofibular Ligament (PTFL) tear may occur along with a severe damage to the ATFL and CFL. The patients may experience-

  • Diffuse swelling
  • Hemorrhage of the sides of the ankle and heel
  • Tenderness over the anterolateral capsule, ATFL, and CFL

Based on the site affected, an ankle sprain is classified into the following types-

  • Lateral ankle sprain: Around 70-85% of the ankle sprains belong to this category. It is also known as inversion ankle sprain and mainly affects the lateral side of the foot. It results from over-inversion of the foot and overstretching of the lateral or the outer ligaments. The ATFL and the CFL ligaments are damaged in this case.
  • Medial ankle sprain: It is also called “eversion injury” and affects mainly the medial side of the foot. This happens when the foot accidentally rolls on the exterior side. Overstretching and overexertion of the medial or the deltoid ligament occurs in this case.
  • High ankle sprain: An injury to the large ligaments above the ankles occurs in this case. These ligaments connect the two long bones of the lower leg known as tibia and fibula. It results from a sudden outward twisting of the foot during certain sports activities such as football, basketball, badminton, and horse-riding.

 

What are the necessary diagnostic tests?

The diagnosis of ankle sprain should be proper and accurate, to prevent the conditions from worsening. The following tests are usually carried out by the doctors-

  • Medical history of the patient to look for instances of bone and ligament injury in the past
  • Differential diagnosis (to exclude the possibilities of bone fractures or strains)
  • X-ray radiography (to rule out fractures)
  • Ottawa ankle rule (to differentiate between the different types of ankle injuries)

 

How do you treat ankle sprain?

Ankle sprain crutchesThe treatment of ankle sprain is a long-term and systematic process and is popularly known as RICE (Rest, Icing, Compression, Elevation). This method is effective for the treatment of sprained ankles and soft tissue damage. It is elaborated below-

  • Rest: The patient is advised to rest the ankle for at least one week in order to avoid further stress or exertion. Certain unavoidable movements should be carried out only with the aid of crutches. A below-knee cast or an air cast helps speed up the recovery process.
  • Ice: Wrap frozen peas or ice in a damp towel and press on the injured area for 15-20 minutes when you are awake. Do not apply the ice directly to the skin.
  • Compression: Tie a tight bandage that covers the toes and the ankles in a manner that allows a smooth flow of blood.
  • Elevation: Raise your foot and rest it on an elevated support.

Cryotherapy is the first line of treatment. Ice packs or ice slush bath should be used for a duration of 15 to 20 minutes. This should be repeated after every 2 to 3 hours. Individuals with conditions like diabetes, vascular disease, neuropathies etc. should consult a doctor prior frequent use of ice packs.

Medications such as over-the-counter pain relievers can be administered. Some of the medicines are ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and acetaminophen. Rehabilitative exercises and physical therapies can help in regaining the strength and function of the injured ligament. Surgery may be required in chronic cases where repair or reconstruction of the ligament is required. Wearing comfortable footwear can help in preventing an ankle sprain. Regular exercise and physical activity strengthens the ligaments, tendons, and muscles and thereby prevent the spraining of the ankle.

Physical activity or any form of a sport should be avoided when tired, worn out or in the state of less consciousness. Walking on uneven surfaces should be avoided. In some serious cases of an ankle sprain, surgical intervention becomes necessary in order to restore the original condition of the ligaments. Sufficient care and attention is required in such cases in order to prevent post-operative complications.

 

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Do get your sprained ankle evaluated promptly because an untreated ankle sprain may lead to chronic instability of the ankle.
  • Opt for diagnostic investigative procedures such as X-ray or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) that will help in differentiating between an ankle sprain and an ankle injury. The severity of the injury can also be evaluated by this method.
  • Immobilize your ankle in an appropriate position so that the ligaments become stable and heal quicker. Immobilization is done (depending on the case) by a splint, a cast, sports tape, elastic bandage or a rigid walking boot.
Don'ts
  • Strain your foot by walking or running. Give your foot proper rest. Rest is crucial for the healing of an injured ankle.
  • Apply hot packs to the affected area immediately after getting injured. Heat increases the blood circulation to the affected area and adds to the pain and swelling. A cold pack can contribute to reducing the pain and swelling.
  • Wear uncomfortable footwear. Uncomfortable footwear can increase the risks of sprains and injuries.

 

 

 

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Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a tangy flavor to…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Experts reveal the safest ways to perform an enema at home The idea of pushing some up your rectal area might make you queasy but an enema could actually…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
Gua sha: Scraping away layers of pain with this ancient healing tool Gua sha is an ancient oriental healing method which focuses on scraping the body with specific tools to…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
Poop chart: Top things you didn’t you your poop could reveal about you Bristol poop chart was designed during the 1990s in order to help doctors identify various types of poops…
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) test Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is an enzyme that is found in every cell of the body and it plays…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
woman with abdominal pain holding ovulation calendar
Ovulation – facts to know about ovulation Learn how and when ovulation occurs, demystify common misconceptions, identify symptoms, methods of detection and right period for…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
xylitol gum
Xylitol : Is this the right sugar substitute for you? Discovered during World War 2 owing to sugar shortage, xylitol has become a common name in pharamaceutical industry.…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
sodium chloride
Halotherapy: How inhaling salt can work wonders for your body Halotherapy is quickly gaining popularity amongst those with respiratory diseases. It has shown promise in its treatment.
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
CERULOPLASMIN- triple marker
Triple Marker Test A triple marker test is an important prenatal test that is performed to detect the presence of chromosomal…
beta hcg test
Beta hCG Test A Beta hCG test measures the level of human gonadotropin hormones present in the blood that is primarliy…
piles fissure fistula
Allopathy vs homeopathy vs ayurveda treatment for piles, fissures, and fistula Read to know the best form of treatment among allopathy, homeopathy,or ayurveda for piles, fissures, and fistula
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
10 reasons why you should up your selenium intake Selenium, though a trace mineral, is very much integral to your health. Find out how much selenium intake…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
Vagus nerve: 7 health benefits of stimulating the “gut-brain” connection As a matter of fact, there are two vagus nerves namely the left and the right but is…
Urologist: When should you visit one and why? A urologist can treat not only genitourinary problems of both men and women but also can treat various…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
tonometry
Tonometry Tonometry uses a device called tonometer to measure the pressure inside the eye. This pressure is depends upon…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
antiHEV IgM test
Anti hepatitis E virus (Anti HEV) IgM Test Anti HEV IgM test determines the level of the IgM antibodies in the blood, The disease is often…
Holistic Healing: How does it harmonize your mind, body, and soul? Holistic healing is not one healing method, holistic healing encompasses a variety of techniques such as reiki, accupuncture,…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
Moringa drink
Moringa: This could be the most nutrient-dense food known to us! Moringa is a lush green tree brimming with over 90 essential nutrients required for a healthy mind and…
Agave nectar: The bitter truth about this sweetener revealed Agave nectar is considered to be sweeter than the normal table sugar and even contains higher amounts of…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
The right way to prepare Alfalfa sprouts at home Alfalfa or lusan ghas is not just a nutritious animal fodder. This flavonoid-rich herb has some amazing health…
biopsy procedure
Biopsy Biopsy is a procedure of studying a live tissue sample collected from a specific organ for diagnosing a…
ASTtest-liver
AST- Aspartate Aminotransferase Test AST test is a blood test that is used to measure the level of a particular liver enzyme…
hemoglobin variant analysis
Hemoglobin Variant Analysis Hemoglobin variant analysis is a blood test that is used to detect the presence of hemoglobin variants which…
valproic acid test
Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
apolipoprotein a1 test
Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
Rheumatoid Arthritis xray
Arthritis Profile Arthritis profile is a panel of primarily blood tests used to detect the presence of arthritis or check…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…

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