Excessive twisting motion of the ankle that causes pain and discomfort due to stress on ankle ligaments/muscles.
Pain, swelling of the ankle joint, bruising, redness and warmth, inability to stand or place body’s weight on affected foot.
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Medical terminology: medial ankle sprain, lateral ankle sprain, inversion sprain
Ankle sprains are the most frequent type of injuries experienced in sports and even during everyday activities. An ankle sprain occurs when there is an excessive twisting motion of the ankle.
What is the ankle joint?
Any of these things may be damaged in an ankle injury: a bone may be fractured or broken, excessive muscle strain around the ankle joint may cause a tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon), or a ligament may be stretched or torn.
The term ankle sprain usually refers to the injury of a ligament.
What can cause an ankle sprain?
Ligaments are injured when an excessive stretching force is applied to them. The most common way for an ankle sprain to occur is when the foot is excessively turned inward or inverted. This can occur when:
- Stepping on an uneven surface or stepping into a hole
- Landing on an object/other person’s foot which causes the foot to invert
- Awkwardly stepping up or down during normal day activities
- Excessive twisting motion while the foot is planted on the ground
Certain situations may require medical attention from a foot specialist or family physician:
- Injured person cannot walk more than a few steps without severe pain
- Ankle does not improve within five to seven days
- Uncontrollable pain even when using pain medication and basic first-aid principles
Situations that require a trip to the hospital are:
- Unable to walk four steps, even with a limp
- Injured ankle cannot be moved
- Excessive swelling of the ankle joint
- Severe pain when either side of the ankle, on the bony part, is touched
- Loss of feeling in the foot or toes
- Redness spreading outside the area of injury
How can you treat an ankle sprain?
At the Mississauga Foot Clinic treatment by a foot care specialist will consist of a comprehensive ankle assessment to determine the severity of the injury. The appropriate treatment will be decided after the severity of the injury is known. Treatment may incorporate medication and different off-loading devices to reduce pressure and motion of the injured ankle such as:
Device to remove stress from affected ankle
- Removable air-cast boot
- Ankle-foot-orthoses (AFO)
- Leg cast
Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or naproxen
- Help to reduce pain and swelling
How can I prevent an ankle sprain?
- Wearing proper footwear for the activity being performed
- High-top shoes which increase ankle support
- Wearing an ankle brace or ankle taping to provide extra support for any activity
- Be aware of uneven surfaces or any holes
- Ankle-foot-orthoses to stabilize the ankle joint
- Custom-made orthotics to control unwanted motion and realign the structures of the foot