What occurs during an ankle sprain?
An ankle sprain occurs when the foot twists, typically pointing in an inward and downward position. This can occur from a fall, during a sports injury, or even tripping on an uneven surface. Ankle sprains can range in severity depending on the grade of the sprain. More often we sprain the ligaments on the outside of our feet. To explain, ligaments are soft tissue bands, similar to rubber bands, that connect bones together. The mildest sprain, grade I, occurs when the affected ligament(s) are stretched. A grade II sprain occurs when the affected ligament(s) are partially torn. The most severe, a grade III sprain, occurs when affected ligament(s) are completely torn.
What are the signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain?
- Pain at ankle joint
- Possible bruising
- Instability when walking
How do podiatrists treat and ankle sprain?
At Star Foot & Ankle Specialists in Frisco, we first will take xrays to make sure there are no fractures. Then we start with conservative treatment including:
- Icing affected area for 20 minutes (not directly on skin) 3-4 times a day
- Compression with either an elastic bandage or ankle brace
- Ankle brace for support
- NSAIDs to help control inflammation and pain
- Physical therapy
- Rest (weight bearing will depend on severity of sprain)
If symptoms do not improve or resolve, we will consider ordering an MRI to assess for complete rupture of ligaments. Sometimes when ligaments are completely torn or when a person has recurrent ankle sprains and instability, surgery is necessary to repair the ligament.
How to prevent an ankle sprain?
- Stretching/exercising to avoid weak ankles
- Avoid running on uneven surfaces
- Wear supportive shoes, possibly even high top shoes
- Use orthotics to help control the biomechanics of your feet
- If you have a history of an ankle sprain, it is not uncommon to experience future ankle sprains. Once you have sustained a sprain, it is recommended that a patient use a brace with activity to prevent future ankle sprains.
If you have any concerns about ankle pain or instability or have a sprained ankle, click HERE or call 972-559-0051 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Heredia or Dr. Zellers