The Twists and Turns of Ankle Sprains

Not a day goes by without an ankle being turned. In fact, an astounding 25,000 people experience this type of foot injury every 24 hours! Topping the list for one of the most common ankle injuries, ankle sprains affect people of all ages. If you’ve twisted or turned your ankle, contact the Advanced Foot & Specialists of Arizona today!

What Is a Sprain?

Holding the ankle bones and joint in position are ligaments. These elastic structures protect the ankle joints from uncharacteristic movements such as twisting, turning, bending, and rolling. If stretched beyond their limits, ligaments become damaged and the elastic fibers can tear. This results in a sprain.

What Are the Causes?

Teenagers and those who are physically active are affected the most. Due to the amount of activity, exercise, and rapid shifting movements these individuals experience, they are incredibly at risk. Ankles can turn beyond their normal range of motion when the body moves forward but the foot remains planted.

Ankle pain can be experienced after any misstep or coming down on an uneven surface. Most often, the ankle will turn outward while the foot turns inward. The severity of sprains varies from case to case. The amount of pressure and force behind the movement determines the degree of the sprain. Upon stretching the ligaments individuals may fall to the ground or be unable to apply weight to the affected foot. In severe cases, a “pop” may be heard.

What Are the Grades and Symptoms?

By determining the grade of your sprain, we will be able to find appropriate and suitable treatment options.

Grade One: is only slight stretching and damage to ligaments of the ankle. This sprain is referred to as mild. The ankle may feel tender, stiff, and slightly swollen. Pressure can still be applied and walking is still possible.

Grade Two: is a moderate sprain. Partial tearing of the ligament fibers occur. An abnormal looseness or laxity of the ankle joint is present during examination. This abnormality allows the ankle to be moved in irregular ways. Symptoms include bruising, tenderness, and swelling. Walking with a grade two sprain is painful.

Grade Three: is the most severe degree. Third grade sprains mean that the ligaments have completely torn and the joint is highly instable. Application of pressure and walking becomes extremely painful. Upon a grade three accident, the joint will bruise and swell immediately.

How Can Sprains Be Treated?

Treatment for this type of foot condition includes a vast amount of rest, elevating, icing, and compressing. While resting, the ankle should be elevated above heart level for the first 48 hours. Ice should also be applied to keep the degree of swelling and discomfort down. It should be applied for 20 to 30 minutes, up to four times a day. A compression bandage or ace-wrap will support and immobilize the ankle.

Our doctors may suggest crutches, splints, or boots depending on the severity of your sprain. In some cases, surgery is necessary. If you’ve experienced a sprain, schedule an appointment today!

Let the Advanced Foot & Ankle specialists of Arizona care for your ankle injury. We’ll find you the best possible treatment plan for a speedy recovery.