Our team of top podiatrists treat many sports injuries ranging from trauma, to injuries that result from wear and tear. Whatever level of sports injury, we can help!
The most common sports injury in the field of Podiatry is the ankle sprain.
WHAT IS AN ANKLE SPRAIN?
An ankle sprain is a common injury resulting from a twisting of the foot inward under the ankle. This can result in injury to the soft tissue structures, called ligaments that stabilize the ankle. Ligaments are similar to a woven piece of cloth and in an ankle injury can be partially torn or completely torn depending on the severity of the event. The ankle ligaments that are most commonly injured are the ligaments that are on the outside or lateral side of the ankle. They consist of three ligaments with the anterior talofibular ligament being the one out of the three that is the most commonly torn. Initially after the injury, the ankle will become painful, swollen and possibly bruised. Most of the initial swelling is due to ruptured blood vessels from tearing of the soft tissue in the area.
HOW IS AN ANKLE SPRAIN DIAGNOSED?
After a careful history is taken, the physical exam will indicate an ankle sprain. This is confirmed by taking X-Rays to rule out an ankle fracture. If a complete tear is suspected and an ankle fracture has been ruled out, stress X-Rays can be performed. Stressing the ankle ligaments during an X-Ray will help identify the level of laxity of the ankle joint confirming a full ligament tear.
HOW CAN I TREAT THIS PROBLEM?
Initially one should perform R.I.C.E. These letters represent rest, ice, compression and elevation. After an injury, the individual should rest the area injured by immobilizing it with a splint or brace. Next you should immediately ice the area to control the swelling. Gentle compression with a compressive wrap should also be used to control swelling. Elevation of the extremity would also be helpful in reducing swelling. Medication in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like advil and alleve can help with mild pain. We also offer FDA approved laser treatment for pain and inflammation. For more information on laser therapy, click here.
WHAT WILL MY DOCTOR DO FOR THIS PROBLEM?
Once an ankle sprain has been diagnosed with a history and physical and any ancillary tests, we will also begin R.I.C.E. therapy in the acute stages. We will also dispense an ankle brace and promote early weight bearing. Ligaments usually take about six weeks to heal. Swelling will generally persist for several months after the injury. Physical therapy will be beneficial to regain full strength of the injured ankle. In some cases the ligaments will not heal resulting in an unstable ankle, now prone to further injury. Therapy can be performed to strengthen the muscles around the ankle to help stabilize it. If all these measures fail, surgery is recommended to reconstruct the ligaments. There are many techniques to reconstructing the ligaments, some involve using the adjacent tendon as a graft to reconstruct the ligament.
We now proud to now offer FDA approved laser treatment to reduce pain and inflammation, and aid to a speedy recovery. This can be a great additional tool to treat and heal ankle sprains. For more information about laser therapy, click here.
CAN I PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING AGAIN?
Sustaining an ankle sprain can in many instances prone you to future ankle sprains. Therefore if you have a history of an ankle sprain you should remember to do like the professional athlete’s do. They will wrap and tape the ankle so as to prevent further injury. So if you plan on a high impact aerobic exercise, like playing basketball, football, etc, then you should brace and wrap the foot and ankle. Balancing exercises can also be done at home to strengthen the area.