What is a sprained ankle?
The most common type of ankle injury is a sprain. A sprain is stretching and tearing of ligaments. (You sprain a ligament and strain a muscle).
The most common damage done in an ankle sprain is to the talo-fibula ligament. If the injury is worse you might also damage the calcanao-fibula ligament. In addition to the ligament damage you could well have damaged tendons as well.
There are three degrees of ligament sprain:
- Some stretching or perhaps tearing of the ligament.
- Little or no joint instability.
- Mild pain
- Little swelling
- Some joint stiffness.
- Some tearing of the ligament fibers
- Moderate instability of the joint
- Moderate to severe pain
- Swelling and stiffness
- Total rupture of a ligament
- Gross instability of the joint
- Severe pain initially followed by no pain
- Severe swelling
What can the athlete do?
- Aim to reduce the swelling by R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) as soon as possible.
- Protect the injured ankle by taping or a support (although do not rely on them for ever as this will weaken the joint).
- Rest the injured ankle – use crutches if necessary – no weight bearing for 24 hours, longer if necessary.
- See a sports injury specialist who can advise on rehabilitation including mobility, and strengthening.
What can a sports injury specialist do about it?
- Prescribe anti inflammatory medication.
- Reduce swelling by compression devices.
- Use ultra sound and laser treatment.
- Use cross friction massage
- Prescribe a full rehabilitation program.