An ankle sprain occurs when the ankle joint bends or flexes more than it should in a specific direction. This results in stretched ligaments, or in more severe cases, torn ligaments, or even a fracture.
Ankles will be swollen and may be bruised. Ankle sprains are painful and can lead to difficulty walking on the affected leg. There may be a popping sound if the ligament is torn.
Any activity, exercise or sport that involves the possibility of a misstep or turning your feet quickly increases the chance of an ankle sprain. Repeated mild injuries to the ankle over many years may stretch ligaments that help support the ankle making the ankle more likely to be injured. Ankle injuries can be caused by hereditary factors such as increased joint flexibility that can make the ankle more susceptible to injury.
Ankle sprains are often the result of a fall or accidently twisting the foot when jumping or pivoting. It is possible to injure an ankle when walking on an uneven surface. A more likely cause is a step where one isn’t expected or when a person steps off a curb not expecting the change in height of the step downwards.
The first step for treating an ankle sprain is to reduce the pain and swelling. Elevating the ankle and placing an ice pack wrapped in a towel may help reduce swelling immediately after the injury. Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can often manage the pain. Compression bandages may alleviate swelling shortly after the injury, often combined with a leg brace. In severe cases, casting may be needed or surgery may be required to repair torn ligaments.
The Concierge Podiatry Advantage
Because ankle injuries may involve damage to soft tissue, ligaments, or even bone fractures diagnosing the specific medical issues can be challenging. At Concierge Podiatry we may use digital X-ray, MRI, and CT scans to clearly define the extent of ankle injuries. We have digital X-ray technology in-house, and for MRI and CT scanning, we use Hoag-affiliated service providers to ensure the best quality imaging. Laser options can reduce the swelling and speed healing. Stem cell therapy is also available when appropriate. We always take the time needed to diagnose and explain any treatment options before beginning any course of treatment.
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