How to Identify and Treat a Sprained Ankle

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How to Identify and Treat a Sprained Ankle

Do you think that you sprained an ankle?

Is your ankle swollen and bruised? Can you place weight on it?

These are just a few of the symptoms of a sprained ankle. In fact, 2 million Americans suffer from an acute ankle injury each year.

Ankle injuries account for roughly 20% of all injuries suffered in amateur sports.

If your ankle injury is not properly identified and treated, it could lead to chronic issues.

Read on to learn how to identify a sprained ankle and the anticipated treatment plan for such an injury.

How do Sprained Ankles Typically Occur?

Sprained ankles frequently happen while running or playing sports. The injury itself occurs during the rapid movements involved with these activities.

A sprained ankle can also happen accidentally through a misstep.

More specifically, the injury is sustained when the foot is planted and the ankle rolls over outward or inward.

When the ankle rolls over, ligaments on the outside or inside of the ankle stretch and tear. In some cases, you may physically feel the tear or hear a pop.

This will cause immediate and excruciating pain.

What are the Symptoms of a Sprained Ankle?

You will know the second you sprained an ankle. In addition to the pain, walking will be a challenge as you will be hard pressed to put any weight on the ankle.

Shortly after the injury occurs, swelling will begin with bruising to follow. Routine movements may be painful and the ankle tender to touch.

What Should you do Immediately After the Injury?

If an athletic trainer is present, the first course of action may be to apply a compression wrap. This is intended to limit swelling, which in turn, may help the ankle feel better later.

Without the help of a trainer, a common mistake that is made is removing the shoe. On the other hand, you should tighten the shoelaces to apply compression. This works especially well with high top basketball shoes.

Once you are in a position to rest, it is time to ice and elevate the ankle. When you aren’t icing, compression wrap is still beneficial.

Ultimately, the best way for the ankle to heal is to stay off of it.

When Should You Seek Medical Attention?

The severity of the ankle injury will dictate whether a visit to the doctor is necessary. If the pain persists and is not improving with ice and rest, medical attention is warranted.

At this point, there is a potential that the ankle is fractured and not sprained. X-rays may be required on the ankle to rule out a fracture.

If an ankle sprain is confirmed, the doctor may recommend wearing compression socks or an ankle brace while working or doing light activity.

Wrapping It Up

As alluded to earlier, the best way to recover from an ankle sprain is rest. Staying off the ankle will allow the body to naturally repair the torn ligaments.

Ice, compression, and elevation are also part of the treatment process.

If you have any additional questions about sprained ankles, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.