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.
The Difference Between Sprains And Strains
A sprain occurs when a ligament in the ankle is stretched or torn. Ligaments are designed to stabilize and strengthen the joints of the body. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn.
If you hurt your ankle, it is much more likely to be a sprain than a strain.
In fact, the ankle is the most commonly sprained joint in the body. Overuse is usually the culprit here. Exercise and routine movements can cause strains and sprains if you land wrong on it or just do one too many movements on it.
Runners, dancers, and athletes who play sports like volleyball are all increasingly susceptible to these kinds of injuries.
Sprained Ankle: When Is It Time To See A Doctor
Ankle sprain is one of the most common sports injuries approximately 2-million people sprain their ankle each year. When is it cause for a visit to the doctor?
The majority of people who suffer ankle sprains dont seek treatment, and in many cases that is appropriate, say two UCLA orthopaedic surgeons who specialize in foot-and-ankle injuries. But some sprains warrant professional attention, including physical therapy. In the most severe cases with persistent symptoms, surgery may be necessary. In those cases, ignoring the problem or trying to fight through the pain can aggravate the injury and prolong the recovery period.
This is a very common injury, with a wide range in the severity of symptoms, says Joan R. Williams, MD, a UCLA orthopaedic surgeon, who sees patients in Santa Monica and Torrance. Some sprains just feel twisted or tweaked, and while they are a little swollen and tender, you can still walk. But ankle sprains can also be fairly severe, with lots of swelling and bruising, along with severe pain when any weight is placed on them.
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Ankle Sprains Vs Fractures: How To Tell The Difference
Breaks & Fractures
Living life comes with fun times as well as responsibilities. And, whether youre doing physically demanding work, participating in a sport that makes you happy, or you suffer an accident sometimes those experiences result in injury. But, how can you tell whether youve sprained or fractured an ankle? What can you do to treat it? And, is there any way of preventing it from happening again?
Treatment At Midamerica Orthopaedics
Whether you believe your ankle injury is a sprain or a break, the best course of action is to get it examined by a foot and ankle orthopaedic specialist as soon as possible. At MidAmerica Orthopaedics the expert physicians and physical therapists of our Foot and Ankle Clinic bring top of the industry experience and expertise to craft the best treatment course to get your back on your feet as soon as possible. The orthopaedic surgeons and physicians of the Foot and Ankle clinic work side by side with our industry leading physical therapists for the least invasive treatment possible.
Dr. Svetlana Zats is MidAmericas foot and ankle specialist. Dr. Zats is well-versed in the diagnosis and treatment of common and complex foot and ankle injuries, including ankle sprains and breaks. Dr. Zats utilizes her years of expertise to find the non-surgical and surgical treatment options that work best for her patients.
Dr. Sarkis Bedikian is one of MidAmericas premier orthopaedic surgeons. Dr. Bedikian is an expert in joint reconstruction, and can tackle even the most complex ankle injury surgical cases. Dr. Bedikian strives to improve quality of life and return his patients to a full and active lifestyle.
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Grade 3 Of A Sprained Ankle
Grade three is a full tear of your ligament. This level of sprain includes severe pain, swelling and bruising. Your ligament is no longer able to do its job so your ankle will feel unstable and be unable to support your weight. Treatment is almost the same as the treatment for grade 2, which the exception of surgery if the sprain does not heal in a reasonable amount of time. Grade three recovery time depends on several factors.
What Was A Waste Of Time And Money In Treating The Sprained Ankle
I did get x-rays on my ankle, it wasnt broken, but a piece of the bone did break off! However, it didnt require surgery or anything other than rest and rehab.
I spent time and money on the X-rays and the doctors appointment, and they told me what I already knew, but it was worth the peace of mind knowing that it wasnt broken and that I wasnt making it worse by starting to rehab it.
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What Does A Diagnosis Involve
Its important to get medical attention if you think you may have broken your ankle, or if you have severe pain, swelling, or bruising after injuring your ankle.
Your doctor or healthcare professional will carefully examine your ankle, foot, and lower part of your leg. Theyll also check for tenderness and move your foot to get an idea of how well you can move your ankle joint.
If your injury is more severe, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following imaging tests to help them accurately diagnose your injury:
Even though the symptoms of a sprained and broken ankle are similar, the treatments are quite different.
Treatment For A Broken Ankle
With a broken ankle, your treatment plan will vary based on the location and severity of your fracture. Generally, it may include:
- Immobilization. Youll likely need to wear a protective boot or cast to give your bone time to heal.
- Closed reduction. Your doctor may need to insert pins through your skin to realign the two ends of your bones if you have a displaced fracture.
- Surgery. More severe breaks may need surgery to ensure your ankle bones stay aligned during the healing process.
- Physical therapy. Once your bone is healed, a physical therapist can give you a customized stretching and exercise plan.
- Pain relievers. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol to help manage pain.
The best way to speed up your recovery from any injury is to listen to the advice of your healthcare professional and to follow their instructions.
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How To Treat A Sprained Ankle
You can treat a lot of ankle sprains at home. Doctors recommend the RICE approach , listed below.
- Rest: All ankle sprains require rest. The length of time will depend on the grade of sprain. Your doctor can help you with a timeline. You may need to use crutches if it hurts to put weight on your foot.
- Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling, bruising, pain, and muscle spasms. Putting ice on your ankle is helpful, but be careful. Place a thin, damp cloth on your ankle before applying the ice. That will help protect your skin from frostbite. Also, cold can also damage your nerves if you leave ice in place too long. You should only use ice for up to 20 minutes at a time. If your skin feels numb, its time to remove the ice. Use ice treatments every 2 to 4 hours for the first 3 days after your injury.
- Compression: Wrap your sprained ankle to avoid swelling and bruising. You might need to do this for several days or a week after your injury. Your doctor can show you the best way to do this.
- Elevation: Raise your ankle at or above the level of your heart. This prevents the swelling from getting worse and reduces bruising. Keep your ankle elevated for 2 to 3 hours a day.
To relieve pain, your doctor may suggest you take over-the-counter medicine. Examples include acetaminophen or ibuprofen .
What Are The Symptoms Of An Ankle Sprain
The most observed symptom is pain. Other symptoms may include:
- Swelling in the ankle and foot area
- Bruising in the area surrounding the affected ankle
- Tenderness to the touch
- Weakness and instability of the ankle joint
If the sprain was severe, you may have felt or heard a pop when the injury occurred. Sprains can often be difficult to differentiate from a broken bone, which is why it is important to have your injury evaluated promptly.
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How Do I Take Care Of Myself
After treating your sprain with the PRICE method, you’ll need to build back flexibility and strength in your ankle. Perform exercises recommended by your healthcare provider or physical therapist to improve your range of motion.
Physical therapy exercises include:
- Strength training for the muscles and tendons in the front and back of your legs.
- Balance training to prevent future sprains.
- Endurance and agility exercises for calf and ankle strength.
Early exercises in your treatment plan will not require you to turn or twist your ankle, but over time, you’ll be able to get back to regular activities that may require sudden turns .
What Is The Difference Between A Twisted Ankle A Rolled Ankle And A Sprained Ankle
The terms twisted ankle, rolled ankle, and sprained ankle can all basically be used to describe the same thing. The outcome is the same, but the way you got the injury may differ. With a ‘rolled’ ankle, it is more likely that you will injure the lateral side of your ankle. If you ‘twist’ your ankle, the side of the ankle injured may differ, but it is still most common to injure the lateral side.
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Is There A Difference Between A Sprained Ankle And A Twisted Ankle
There are many foot and ankle injuries that can happen to you every day- whether it be from a twisted ankle or sprained ankle, there is always something that could go wrong. Its important to know the difference between a twisted and sprained ankle because they require different treatments. If you think you might have either of these sprained ankles or twisted ankles, below is a quick overview.
Can I Prevent A Sprained Ankle
It’s impossible to prevent all ankle sprains. But these tips can make another one less likely:
- Stretch regularly to keep your ankles flexible.
- Do ankle range of motion and strengthening exercises to keep your muscles strong.
- Always warm up before playing sports, exercising, or doing any other kind of physical activity.
- Watch your step when you’re walking or running on uneven or cracked surfaces.
- Don’t overdo things. Being tired can make an injury more likely.
- Use tape, lace-up ankle braces, or high-top shoes to support the ankle.
- Wear shoes that fit well. Tie any laces and close any Velcro or other straps to make the shoes as supportive as possible.
- Don’t wear shoes with high heels.
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What Really Happens When You Sprain Your Ankle
Every day in the United States, over 25,000 people sprain an ankle. Ankle sprains are a very common injury that occurs among people of all ages, and can range in severity. A sprained ankle occurs when the strong ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limit. Most sprains are minor injuries that heal with home treatments such as rest and applying ice. However, it is important to have any ankle injury evaluated by a medical professional to have it properly treated and rehabilitated.
Risk Factors Of A Twisted Ankle:
- Walking or running on uneven surfaces or poor field conditions may increase the risk of an ankle sprain.
- Ankle sprains are a common sports injury, particularly in sports that require jumping, cutting action, or rolling or twisting of the foot such as basketball, tennis, football, soccer, and trail running.
A Previous Ankle Injury
- Once you’ve sprained your ankle or had another type of ankle injury, you’re more likely to sprain it again.
- Shoes that don’t fit properly or aren’t appropriate for an activity, as well as high-heeled shoes in general, make ankles more vulnerable to injury. Make sure you have a good pair of shoes!
Poor Physical Condition
- Poor strength or flexibility in the ankles may increase the risk of a sprain when participating in sports.
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The Importance Of Staying Active
If you want to avoid ankle sprains and strains, its important to stretch and warm up before your physical activity. Additionally, if you live a sedentary lifestyle, youre restricting the movement of your joints, muscles, and ligaments.
Staying active and stretching are two of the best ways to make sure you dont injure any muscles, tendons, or ligaments in your body including those in your ankles.
Worried about the severity of your sprain or strain? Still having trouble figuring out which one it is? Give us a call and set up an appointment!
Symptoms Of Sprained Ankles
You typically know when youve sprained your ankle, but you should always have a foot & ankle specialist assess the severity of the injury. Typically, with a sprain youll feel tenderness, pain, weakness, and experience swelling and limited range of motion. When dealing with a sprain its also common to develop a slight limp as you baby the injury.
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Symptoms Of A Broken Ankle
A broken ankle is defined by a fracture, crack, chip, or break in one of the bones of the ankle . A break is caused by stressing the bones of the ankle beyond their threshold of strength. They can be caused by twists and rolls, or by severe force such as falling. Ankle breaks are often accompanied by ankle sprains.
Symptoms of a broken ankle include:
While the symptoms for an ankle break are very similar to that of a sprain, the course of treatment will vary. Due to the high percentage of similarities in symptoms, its important to get an official diagnosis from an orthopaedic specialist as soon as possible. Your orthopaedic specialist will determine if a break is present and the severity of the break through a physical exam and X-rays before determining a course of treatment.
Treatments for a broken ankle include:
Recovering From An Ankle Sprain
All it takes is a simple misstep, and suddenly you have a sprained ankle. An ankle sprain is one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries in people of all ages, athletes and couch potatoes alike. The injury occurs when one or more of the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn, causing pain, swelling, and difficulty walking. Many people try to tough out ankle injuries and don’t seek medical attention. But if an ankle sprain causes more than slight pain and swelling, it’s important to see a clinician. Without proper treatment and rehabilitation, a severely injured ankle may not heal well and could lose its range of motion and stability, resulting in recurrent sprains and more downtime in the future.
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Common Ankle Strain Symptoms
Although it is the least severe of the three injuries, joint strains should be taken seriously if you want to avoid further injury. A strained ankle is the result of overstretched or torn muscles and tendons. When determining the difference between a strain and a sprain its important to remember a few key differences. Its important to note that there are degrees of a joint strain, and symptoms vary by case. Your ankle may be strained if you have any of the following symptoms.
Pain is the most common symptom of any injury, and a strained ankle is no different. This pain may be immediate or increase gradually depending on the severity of the strain. Most of us use our ankles every day, and prolonged use can bring the pain of a strained ankle to the surface.
Inflammation, Swelling, or Redness
Swelling or discoloration at the site of the injury may be an indication of a strain. Additionally, a strained ankle may be warm to the touch. If you experience this symptom, ice your ankle and keep it elevated.
Muscle Cramps and Weakness
If youve strained your ankle, you might experience muscle cramps in your shins, calves, or feet. In some cases, you might not be able to do normal activities such as walking, running, or jumping without pain.
Loss of Motion
In the case of mild strains, your ankle may become stiff with pain, limiting your range of motion. In instances of severe joint strain the ankle can even go limp.
Grade 1 Of A Sprained Ankle
Your ankle is slightly swollen and is probably sore. You may notice a bruise as well. This means your ligament has been stretched but not torn. The best treatment option for this is the RICE approach for several days until the symptoms improve. This grade will have the shortest amount of recovery time – about 2-4 weeks.
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