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Ways To Deliberately Sprain Ankle Or Fake It
Many teens wind up with a sprained ankle at some point. It often happens during athletic activity, but sometimes it just occurs for no apparent reason. This is especially true in those who have weak ligaments in the ankle, as a sprain occurs when those ligaments get stretched or torn.
Most sprained ankles hurt significantly, but they quickly heal with very little treatment just some time off the leg and a little care. Other sprained ankles can be much more serious, and can lead to problems with walking, or even require surgery.
Some people will try to sprain their ankle on purpose. Why? They want to get out of something, such as going to school or attending a meeting or sporting event.
When Should I Seek Medical Help
You dont always need to seek medical help for a sprained ankle. You can usually treat a mild ankle sprain by following some self-care measures at home. See our section on self-help below for more information on this. But if your sprain is very bad, you may need medical attention. Its possible you may have damaged other parts of your ankle such as the bones or tendons. And it can be difficult to distinguish between a very bad sprain and a fracture without an X-ray.
Seek medical attention straight away if your ankle is too painful to stand on, seems deformed or your skin is broken. You can usually go to an urgent treatment centre or minor injury unit for injuries like these, but phone NHS 111 if youre not sure. You should also have your ankle checked out if the pain and swelling dont improve or they get worse after a few days.
If you keep spraining your ankle or it feels unstable, make an appointment to see your GP or a physiotherapist.
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When To See Your Doctor
Unless your symptoms are mild or improving soon after the injury, contact your clinician. He or she may want to see you immediately if your pain and swelling are severe, or if the ankle feels numb or won’t bear weight. He or she will examine the ankle and foot and may manipulate them in various ways to determine the type of sprain and the extent of injury. This examination may be delayed for a few days until swelling and pain improve in the meantime, continue with the RICE regimen.
X-rays aren’t routinely used to evaluate ankle injuries. Ligament problems are the source of most ankle pain, and ligaments don’t show up on regular x-rays. To screen for fracture, clinicians use a set of rules called the Ottawa ankle rules, after the Canadian team that developed them to identify areas of the foot where pain, tenderness, and inability to bear weight suggest a fracture. A review of studies involving more than 15,000 patients concluded that the Ottawa rules identified patients with ankle fractures more than 95% of the time.
What Are The Types Of Ankle Sprains
There are three types of ankle sprains based on how much ligament damage occurred:
- Grade 1 . The ligament fibers stretched slightly or there is a very small tear. Your ankle will have minor swelling and tenderness to the touch.
- Grade 2 . The ligament is torn, but it isnt a complete tear. Your ankle has swelling over the injury and it hurts to move.
- Grade 3 . The ligament is torn completely. Your ankle has significant swelling, the injury is painful and walking is difficult.
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What Causes An Ankle Sprain
An ankle sprain often occurs when the foot suddenly twists or rolls, forcing the ankle joint out of its normal position. During physical activity, the ankle may twist inward as a result of sudden or unexpected movement. This causes one or more ligaments around the ankle to stretch or tear.
Some swelling or bruising can occur as a result of these tears. You may also feel pain or discomfort when you place weight on the affected area. Tendons, cartilage, and blood vessels might also be damaged due to the sprain.
Ankle sprains can happen to anyone at any age. Participating in sports, walking on uneven surfaces, or even wearing inappropriate footwear can all cause this type of injury.
What Is An Ankle Sprain
Most people have twisted an ankle at some point in their life. But if your ankle gets swollen and painful after you twist it, you have most likely sprained it. This means you have stretched and possibly torn the ligaments in your ankle.
Even though ankle sprains are common, they are not always minor injuries. Some people with repeated or severe sprains can develop long-term joint pain and weakness. Treating a sprained ankle can help prevent ongoing ankle problems.
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Recovery From An Ankle Sprain
- The pain usually settles after a few days but every injury recovers differently.
- The ankle can take up to six weeks to fully heal.
- Early movement and exercise help your ankle heal more quickly. Putting weight through the injured ankle has been shown to speed up healing.
- Most people dont need crutches.
If you cant walk at all after one week come back to the Emergency Department.
How To Recover From A Sprain Quickly
If you think youve sprained your ankle, remember the acronym POLICE to help guide your treatment immediately after the injury and maximize your recovery time. Many people can recover from an ankle sprain within a few weeks of injury by following these guidelines.
Protection — Minimizing and modifying activity shortly after injury can go a long way after spraining an ankle. Some people may need assistive devices such as crutches or the use of a walking boot to help protect the ankle as it begins to heal.
Optimal Loading — Progressive loading and activity after injury can help with gradually introducing motion to the foot and ankle. In general, let your symptoms be your guide to increasing activity after an ankle sprain. Recent research suggests that early, gentle range of motion exercises help with healing. Try to gently pump your ankle up and down, make circles with your feet, and wiggle your toes often.
Ice — Intermittent use of ice throughout the day may help with lessening pain in the early phase of healing. The usual recommendation is 15 to 20 minutes of ice to help with decreasing pain. Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Ice is best, especially for the first 48 hours after injury.
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Learn More About Ankle Sprains
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UPMC’s HealthBeat Blog:
- C = compression .
- E = elevation.
If the ankle sprain affects your ability to walk, you may need crutches or a cane while you heal.
Other ankle sprain treatments for athletes and non-athletes may include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as NSAIDs or acetaminophen.
- Strengthening, stretching, and balancing exercises.
- Working with a physical therapist or your coach to improve your movements.
If your injury occurred while playing a sport, check the conditions under which you were hurt.
Check field or floor conditions before you play and wear the proper footwear for your sport.
What Is A High Ankle Sprain
A high ankle sprain, also known as a syndesmotic sprain, occurs when the syndesmosis is injured in an external rotation movement of the ankle. This will often occur in contact sports where the ankle is forcibly rotated outward.
The syndesmosis is comprised of four ligaments and is located between the two lower leg bones, the tibia and fibula. It functions to stabilize these bones during weight-bearing activities such as walking, running, and sports. It also prevents the two bones from separating apart.
These sprains are much less common than the lateral ankle sprains that we commonly see and take longer to heal.
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Is It Ok To Walk On An Ankle Sprain
You have an injured ankle and now want to get back to walking on it. It is safe to walk on a sprained ankle but only after youve had your injury properly identified and diagnosed by a doctor or physical therapist. There are multiple factors that come into play when determining how and when you can walk on an ankle sprain. The medical advice of a healthcare professional is essential in helping you determine if you need x-rays to evaluate your ankle injury or if at home treatment wont be enough.
Assuming you dont have a broken bone, torn ligaments, or another contraindication it will be safe for you to walk soon after your injury. Start slowly and use the support of an ankle brace or kinesiology tape to protect your ankle. Walking too early on a severe sprain can lead to further injury and damage. Listen to your body, let your ankle rest but when the pain subsides its time to start moving.
Ankle Exercises And Stretches After A Sprain
Certain exercises can rehabilitate your ankle. Your doctor or physical therapist may recommend a series of movements designed to restore strength to the area so you avoid future sprains.
Balance and stability training, as well as stretches designed to improve flexibility and range of motion, are especially helpful. The sooner youre able to start exercising your foot, the better. This will help promote healing. But dont overdo it!
Here are a few exercises to try when youre able:
- Walk, either with or without crutches.
- Trace the alphabet with your toe. This encourages ankle movement in all directions.
- Stand on one leg for 25 seconds to one minute to improve strength.
- Sit on a chair with the foot of the affected leg flat on the floor. Move your knee from side to side while keeping your foot flat. Do this for two to three minutes.
- Stretch your calf by placing your hands flat on a wall and positioning the injured leg behind you. Straighten the leg and hold for 25 seconds. Do this two to four times.
You can also talk to your doctor or physical therapist about using resistance bands in your exercise and recovery routine.
Your ankle is uniquely designed to support your body weight many times over when you walk, run, and engage in day-to-day activities.
Your ankle is made up of:
- blood vessels
The ankle joint is formed by three bones. It works like a hinge to allow your foot to move easily in all directions. These bones are called:
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Once You Can Walk Without Pain Re
Level 1: Stand holding onto a chair or firm surface. Practise standing on your previously injured ankle for up to 30 seconds. Once achieved, move to level 2.
Level 2: Standing on your injured leg, attempt to release your grip on the chair/ surface and hold for up to 30 seconds. Once achieved, move to level 3.
Level 3: Standing freely on one leg without support you can attempt to close your eyes for up to 30 seconds.
How Are Ankle Sprains Diagnosed
To diagnose ankle sprains, doctors ask about the injury and do an exam. They’ll check the bones and soft tissue of the ankle, watch the person’s range of motion, and do strength tests.
Sometimes, the doctor may order an X-ray or other imaging study to see if there are other injuries, such as a broken bone.
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What Can I Expect If I Have A Sprained Ankle
After giving your ankle time to heal and treating the sprain according to your healthcare providers recommendations, you’ll be able to get back to regular activities. Your prognosis depends on your commitment to building strength back in your ankle through exercises and rehabilitation. If your ankle hasn’t healed completely or you stopped the strengthening exercises, your injured ligament could weaken and put you at risk for future ankle sprains.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Sprains And Strains
Speak to a pharmacist about the best treatment for you. They might suggest tablets, or a cream or gel you rub on the skin.
If needed, you can take ibuprofen tablets, capsules or syrup that you swallow.
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Sprained Ankle Risk Factors
Certain people are more likely to sprain their ankles. Women, children, and teenagers tend to have more sprains. You might also be at higher risk if you:
- Play sports, especially on an indoor court
- Have balance problems
- Wear high heels or shoes that donât fit well
- Have weak or stiff ankles, such as because of a previous injury
How Do I Know If My Ankle Is Sprained Or Broken
A fracture or broken bone of the distal end of the tibia , fibula , or the talus can occur in severe sprains.
In this instance, patients will feel intense pain and there will be massive swelling and bruising. Walking will be difficult and painful. Patients will need crutches for a couple of weeks and will use a walking boot for ambulation once crutches are discharged.
The affected foot needs to be stabilized and protected during the initial and mid phases of recovery. Healing time is longer and patients will require physical therapy.
Imaging studies are needed to confirm whether or not you have a fracture. Surgical intervention is rare but may be necessary if patients cannot achieve full recovery with conservative treatment.
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How Is It Treated
In many cases you can first use the RICE approach to treat your ankle:
- R est. You may need to use crutches until you can walk without pain.
- I ce. For at least the first 24 to 72 hours or until the swelling goes down, apply an ice pack for 10 to 20 minutes every hour or two during the day. Always keep a thin cloth between the ice and your skin, and press the ice pack firmly against all the curves of the affected area.
- C ompression. An elastic compression wrap, such as a tensor bandage, will help reduce swelling. You wear it for the first 24 to 36 hours. Compression wraps do not offer protection. So you also need a brace to protect your ankle if you try to put weight on it.
- E levation. Raise your ankle above the level of your heart for 2 to 3 hours a day if possible. This helps to reduce swelling and bruising.
If you are not taking any prescription pain relievers, you may want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce pain and swelling.
If your ankle is still unstable after rehab, or if the ligament damage is severe, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair the torn ligaments.
Diagnosis Of A Sprained Ankle
A doctor or physiotherapist will usually be able to diagnose a sprained ankle by asking about your symptoms and examining you. Theyll ask exactly how you hurt your ankle and if you could stand and walk afterwards. When they examine you, theyll check for pain, swelling and bruising around your ankle. They may also check how much you can move your ankle and if you can put any weight on your foot.
If your injury is particularly bad, your doctor or physiotherapist may recommend you have an X-ray to check whether or not your ankle is broken. Sometimes, they may also arrange ultrasound or MRI scans if they need a more detailed look at your ankle.
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Walking On A Sprained Ankle Safely
A sprained ankle is a common injury whose treatment had historically been to walk it off. Weve learned that ignoring pain and continuing activity is not the best plan. Once youve recovered from the acute phase of injury walking on a sprained ankle can be nerve-wracking. Using a support brace and knowing when and how to walk properly can make all the difference in your recovery.
Anatomy Of An Ankle Sprain
An ankle sprain occurs when the strong ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear. Ankle sprains are common injuries that occur among people of all ages. They range from mild to severe, depending upon how much damage there is to the ligaments.
One of the most common knee injuries is an anterior cruciate ligament sprain or tear.
Athletes who participate in high demand sports like soccer, football, and basketball are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments.
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Treating Your Sprained Ankle
Treating your sprained ankle properly may prevent chronic pain and looseness. For a Grade 1 sprain, follow the R.I.C.E. guidelines:
Rest your ankle by not walking on it. Limit weight bearing and use crutches if necessary. If there is no broken bone you are safe to put some weight on the leg. An ankle brace often helps control swelling and adds stability while the ligaments are healing.
Ice it to keep down the swelling. Don’t put ice directly on the skin and don’t ice more than 20 minutes at a time to avoid frostbite.
Compression can help control swelling as well as immobilize and support your injury.
Elevate the foot by reclining and propping it up above the waist or heart as needed.
Swelling usually goes down in a few days.
For a Grade 2 sprain, follow the R.I.C.E. guidelines and allow more time for healing. A doctor may immobilize or splint your sprained ankle.
A Grade 3 sprain puts you at risk for permanent ankle looseness . On rare occasions, surgery may be needed to repair the damage, especially in competitive athletes. For severe ankle sprains, your doctor may also consider treating you with a short leg cast for 2-3 weeks or a walking boot. People who sprain their ankle repeatedly may also need surgical repair to tighten their ligaments.