The Season of Ankle Sprains
Springtime is here and that means an increase in ankle sprains. Especially during this time when all that anyone can do is exercise outside, rolling your ankle is very likely. While ankle sprains most of the time are only minor, it is important to treat them correctly to avoid further damage or worse injuries later.
Ankle sprains occur when the ankle is forced from its normal position causing the ligaments around the ankle to stretch abnormally or tear. Common symptoms of a sprain are tenderness, swelling, bruising, itching, cold and numb feet, stiffness. If you severely tear ligaments you most likely will hear or feel a pop.
There are 3 grades of ankle sprains. Please see a doctor if you are experiencing grades 2 or 3 or if your symptoms have lasted longer than 3 weeks without improvement.
Grade 1 – is caused by over stretching the ligaments around your ankle. Symptoms will be swelling and soreness.
Grade 2 – is caused by a partial tear of the ligaments around the ankle. Symptoms will be light bruising, swelling, prolonged pain, and you may not be able to put much weight on it.
Grade 3 – is caused by a full tear of the ligaments around the ankle. Symptoms will be severe bruising, swelling, and pain. Many people with grade 3 sprains feel like their ankles may be broken. No weight will be able to be sustained by the ankle.
Here are a few suggestions on how to prevent sprains and how to treat them when they happen.
1. The easiest and best way to avoid sprains is to properly stretch and roll out your ankles prior to physical exercise.
2. Use a brace or compression sleeve. These will help to support and reduce the strain on your ankle.
3. Use proper footwear. Make sure your shoes have good tread and fit properly.
4. Strengthen your ankles by doing exercises. Just like the rest of your body, injury will be less likely to occur when your ankles are strong and taken care of.
1. Secure your ankle with a wrap or a brace. Your ankle is very weak and can easily be re-injured. Pressure needs to be applied to help stop the swelling.
2. Use hot and cold therapy to help speed up the recovery process. Ankles are slower to heal because they are furthest from your heart, so it takes longer for blood to go and come. To help speed up this process use hot and cold therapy to increase blood flow in and out of the ankle. 30 seconds of hot water, as hot as you can handle followed immediately by cold water for 2 minutes, as cold as you can handle. Continue alternating for 15-20 min ending with a cold-water treatment. Repeat this process every 2-3 hours.
3. Elevate your ankle.
4. See a doctor if you cannot sustain weight on your ankle or if your symptoms are not appearing to improve.