An ankle sprain is a common walking and sporting injury. It occurs when the ankle twists, causing damage to the soft tissues and ligaments. A ligament consists of several strands of tissue, all compacted together to form a strong structure, similar to a rope, which stabilizes the ankle joint.
An ankle sprain may result in a partial or complete tear of a ligament. Once the ligament is torn, it becomes weak, which, in turn, affects ankle stability. The degree to which ankle stability is affected depends on the level of the tear. When an ankle sprain occurs, the usual scenario involves the athlete “rolling” his or her ankle while landing from a jump or running, followed by a sharp pain on the outside of the ankle.
Symptoms and Treatment
A sudden twist of an ankle may be caused by rolling the ankle while engaging in a sporting activity, or by a biomechanical condition (an abnormality with a walking pattern).
Symptoms include a swollen, painful ankle, with possible bruising due to ruptured blood vessels. An audible “pop” or “snap” may accompany a sprained ankle, which sometimes signals ligamentous rupture.
If an athlete can walk on the injured ankle, the likelihood of a serious injury is less, but athletic participation should be discontinued. Ice can be applied to relieve pain, but realize that prolonged use of ice can delay recovery. If pain persists check with your doctor or podiatrist.
The recovery time is usually 3 to 7 weeks, but the swelling may last for a few months. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair tendons around the ankle joint. Sports orthotics or insoles can provide stability and help to prevent future ankle sprains. More
Contributed by Gene Mirkin, DPM