Ankle Sprains

What is an Ankle Sprain?  

An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments in the ankle, usually on the outside of the ankle. Ligaments are bands of tissue—like rubber bands—that connect one bone to another and bind the joints together. In the ankle joint, ligaments provide stability by limiting side-to-side movement.

Some ankle sprains are much worse than others. The severity of an ankle sprain depends on whether the ligament is stretched, partially torn or completely torn, as well as on the number of ligaments involved. Ankle sprains are not the same as strains, which affect muscles rather than ligaments.

Symptoms

The symptoms of ankle sprains may include:

  • Pain or soreness

  • Swelling

  • Bruising

  • Difficulty walking

  • Stiffness in the joint


Ankle fractures are common injuries most often caused by the ankle rolling inward or outward. Many people mistake an ankle fracture for an ankle sprain, but they are quite different and therefore require an accurate and early diagnosis. They sometimes occur simultaneously.

Treatment

When you have an ankle sprain, rehabilitation is crucial—and it starts the moment your treatment begins. Your foot and ankle surgeon may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:

  • Rest. Stay off the injured ankle. Walking may cause further injury.

  • Ice. Apply an ice pack to the injured area, placing a thin towel between the ice and the skin. Use ice for 20 minutes and then wait at least 40 minutes before icing again.

  • Compression. An elastic wrap may be recommended to control swelling.

  • Elevation. The ankle should be raised slightly above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.

  • Early physical therapy. Your doctor will start you on a rehabilitation program as soon as possible to promote healing and increase your range of motion. This includes doing prescribed exercises.

  • Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation. In some cases, prescription pain medications are needed to provide adequate relief.

 

When Is Surgery Needed?

Acute ankle sprains rarely require surgical intervention. In instances were a patient suffers multiple consecutive ankle sprains, the ligaments may heal in a stretched out position. This condition is called ankle instability and can be painful and debilitating. In these cases, our surgeons may recommend surgical repair of the ligament in order to restore function.

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 399 W. Campbell Rd, Suite 103(Medical Plaza 2), Richardson, TX, 75080