A sprained ankle is a very common injury caused by the foot moving (twisting or rolling) further than it’s normal motion. This causes tearing of one or more of the ankle ligaments. The symptoms of the injury largely depend on the severity and will dictate the specific treatment for sprained ankle.
Symptoms Of Sprained Ankle
Common symptoms include:
- pain – when static and/or putting weight on the foot
- restricted movement
Types of Sprained Ankle
Sprained ankles are classified in grades, on a scale of 1 to 3. A grade 1 sprain is defined as mild damage to a ligament or ligaments without instability of the affected joint. A grade 2 sprain is considered a partial tear to the ligament, in which it is stretched to the point that it becomes loose. A grade 3 sprain is a complete tear of a ligament, causing instability in the affected joint.
An inversion ankle sprain (the most common type) affects the lateral side of the foot whereby the foot in inverted too much stretching the lateral ligaments.
By contrast, an eversion ankle sprain affects the medial side of the foot, stretching the medial ligaments.
Image credit – milwaukeepaindoctors.com
Treatment For Sprained Ankle
Grade 1 – The well-known protocol of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation is followed to reduce swelling and prevent any unnecessary movement doing further damage.
Grade 2 – Again Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation comes into play but a Grade 2 sprain may require more time to heal and keep the patient off their feet longer.
Grade 3 – Depending on the severity of a Grade 3 sprain, on rare occasions a specialist may indicate surgery is required to repair the damage. More likely is treatment with an Aircast Boot in order to stabilise the ankle while allowing some light pressure to accelerate healing.
All types of sprain will require a period of rehabilitation to restore the full range of movement in the ankle and prevent a repeat injury. Your doctor or physiotherapist will recommend the course of rehab which will be built up gradually from restoring flexibility and strength in the ankle to low-impact exercise and eventually returning to your chosen activity or sport when completely pain-free.
It is at the rehabilitation phase that the use of an ankle support brace like an Aircast ankle brace can be extremely helpful and given that an ankle is weakened by a sprain, these braces can also be invaluable for injury prevention after recovery.