Nearly 25 thousand ankle sprains occur and get treated every year in the US alone. Sprains are the most often treated musculoskeletal injury and come in three grades of severity. Although sprains are common to the world of sports, they can happen to anyone at any time. A simple excessive twisting force can occur when a person missteps or encounters uneven terrain.
The ankle is comprised of three bones coming together. These bones are connected to muscle by tough cords called tendons. Ligaments hold bones together and have a limited ability to give, which allows them to give to a certain extent, and then resume their normal position. When sufficient force is placed on the ligaments they may be stretched beyond their endurance. This stretching or tearing of the ligament is called a sprain. Sprains most often happen to the outer part of the ankle. This injury can happen in several different ways:
The body’s response to a tissue injury like a sprain is fluid build-up which causes swelling, pain which may worsen when the ankle is moved or manipulated in a certain manner or when weight bearing. The area may also appear red and feel warm to the touch due to increased circulation. Heightened blood flow is part of the healing process.
Sprains, although painful, do not always mean a trip to the doctor. Sometimes pain can be managed by:
If swelling is reduced with over-the-counter medication, such as Ibuprofen, then continue to monitor the ankle and begin gentle walking to regain mobility and strength. If pain is severe and you are unable to walk, see the podiatrists at Dallas Podiatry Works. Drs. Brook and Northcutt can examine your foot and perform diagnostic tests necessary in order to determine if the injury is more than a sprain. Sometimes stress fractures occur, but are masked by the sprain. X-rays, CT scans and MRIs all can assist in his diagnosis.
If you have a sprained ankle, call Dallas Podiatry Works in Medical City at (972) 566-7474 or in Plano at (972) 943-3323. After a complete evaluation of your injury he can begin you on a program of physical therapy to reduce discomfort and build your muscle strength. Other treatment options include electrical nerve stimulation and ultrasound. In the most severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair torn ligaments, but our doctors will discuss the treatment option best suited to you.