Ankle Sprains

The most common type of ankle injury is a sprain. A sprain occurs when the ligaments around the ankle joint are stretched or torn when the ankle is forced into a position not normally encountered. 

The most common ankle sprain occurs when weight is applied to the foot and then the foot encounters an uneven surface or it twisted or turned awkwardly and the foot "rolls in" (inversion). This causes the ligaments on the outside of the ankle to become stressed.  Many patients say they hear a "snap" or "pop" at the time of the injury. This is usually followed by pain and swelling on the outside (lateral)  aspect of the foot and/or ankle.

THE MOST IMPORTANT INITIAL TREATMENT OF A SPRAIN IS,

  • R – rest.  No weight on your foot for the first 24 hours after the injury or longer depending on the severity.
  • I – ice.  Apply ice pack to the injured ankle 15 min on, 15 min off as much as possible for the first 24 hour.
  • C – compression.  An ACE bandage should be applied to the ankle to help control swelling.
  • E – elevation.  This helps to remove swelling by elevating the injured foot/ankle above the level of your heart.

Many of the problems resulting from sprains are due to blood and edema in and around the ankle. Minimizing swelling helps the ankle heal faster. The RICE regimen facilitates this.

In some instances, a fracture of the foot or ankle may occur along with a moderate to severe sprain.  Pain alone is not necessarily a reliable guide of the presence or absence of a fracture.  Just because you can bear weight on your foot after an ankle injury does not necessarily mean that a fracture is not present.  A fracture can be easily diagnosed with conventional x-rays at our office and then treated accordingly.