Ankle sprains are injuries that affect many people, regardless of how active or inactive they may be. Ankle sprains occur when one or more of the strong ligaments that support and bind the ankle become stretched beyond their normal bounds, or even torn in severe cases. This injury causes varying degrees of pain, swelling, and mobility issues which are graded by severity. Grade 1 ankle sprains cause mild pain and swelling, and there is no visible bruising, joint instability, or difficulty bearing weight. Ligaments are minimally stretched, so recovery time generally falls within one to three weeks. With a grade 2 ankle sprain the pain, swelling, and tenderness can range from mild to moderate. There may be some joint instability and bruising. Bearing weight may be painful, and it may be difficult to move the ankle. The recovery time typically doubles, because the ligament has been partially torn. A grade 3 ankle sprain is the most severe because the ligament(s) have torn fully or ruptured. This causes severe pain, swelling, bruising, and tenderness. It is impossible to walk due to the ankle being considerably unstable and unable to bear weight. Also, a grade 3 ankle sprain can take several months to fully heal. If you believe you have sprained your ankle, make an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible.
Although ankle sprains are common, they aren’t always minor injuries. If you need your ankle injury looked at, contact Dr. Ryan W. Wood from Desert Foot & Ankle Surgeons. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?
Ankle sprains are the result of a tear in the ligaments within the ankle. These injuries may happen when you make a rapid shifting movement while your foot is planted. A less common way to sprain your ankle is when your ankle rolls inward while your foot turns outward.
What Are the Symptoms?
- Pain at the sight of the tear
- Ankle area is tender to touch
- In severe cases, may hear/feel something tear
- Skin discoloration
Preventing a Sprain
- Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
- Stretching before exercises and sports
- Knowing your limits
Treatment of a Sprain
In many cases, the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate) is used to treat ankle sprains. However, you should see a podiatrist to see which treatment option would work best with your injury. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
It is important to ask your doctor about rehab options after you receive treatment for your injury. Stretching, strength training, and balance exercises may help the ankle heal while also preventing further injury.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Palm Springs and El Paseo, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.