Ankle sprains are relatively common injuries, and the damage can be minor or major. Generally, the sprain occurs when the ligaments that support the bones and ankle joints are stretched or torn. The ligaments are elastic body structures that protect the ankle from abnormal and excessive movements, including twisting and rolling. If the ligaments are forcefully stretched beyond their limits, the sprain will occur. It is advisable to consult a podiatrist when an ankle sprain occurs for diagnosis and treatment. You can also manage the pain and damage at home for minor sprains. Here is a brief description of your main treatment options after sustaining an ankle sprain.
A minor sprain can be managed with home treatment techniques that reduce strain and continued damage to the ligaments. Basically, this type of injury involves slight stretching of some fibres in the ligaments. You will notice minimal swelling in the ankle area and slight tenderness. You should rest the injured leg to limit pressure and only exert body weight as tolerated. You will not need to immobilise the foot, but it is prudent to apply ice in order to reduce swelling and pain. You should also elevate your leg immediately after the sprain occurs and perform strengthening exercises as the ankle heals.
Immobilisation and Physical Therapy
Moderate sprains are caused by partial tearing of the ligament in the ankle joint. The swelling and tenderness is considerable, so you will experience significant pain when you place weight on the foot. In addition, your ankle will have limited movement and slight instability. You should see a podiatrist for this damage for a more thorough assessment. Generally, it is important to immobilise the foot using an air splint.
This will prevent escalation of the sprain by continued stretching of the ligaments. You can apply compression bandages, ice and elevation techniques to reduce the swelling. If the pain is severe, your physician might recommend anti-inflammatory drugs. When the ankle begins to heal, you should engage a physical therapist for assistance to restore the normal range of motion.
Severe ankle sprains occur when the ankle ligament is completely raptured or torn after an accident. The instability, swelling and inflammation issues experienced are high, so you will not be able to place weight on the foot or move. Immobilisation through splinting and casting is important for normal healing of the leg. Additionally, you might require surgical intervention; this involves repairing the torn ligament with sutures and stitches. Therapeutical rehabilitation is essential after the surgical treatment.