Ankle sprains are defined as injuries due to the overstretching or tearing of the ligaments joining the bones of the ankle together. Ankle strain is the overstretching or tearing of the tendons that join bone with muscle.
There are many types of ankle injuries such as fractures, dislocations, sprains, and strains.
Sprains and strains are associated with the “soft tissue” of the ankles, as opposed to being associated with problems with bone. Ankle sprains are associated with ligaments.
Even a microscopic tear in the ligament can cause enough pain to see a medical provider. Ankle strains are associated with tendons. Overstretching or tearing a tendon can also cause pain. Both ankle strains and sprains can lead to temporary loss of function in the ankle.
Ankle sprains and strains are common in people of all ages. They range from mild to severe depending on the cause.
An unexpected twist of the foot can lead to an ankle sprain or strain due to added stress on the ligaments and tendons. Walking or running on uneven ground can also lead to tearing of the ligaments or tendons.
Falling down or participating in sports that require sprinting, twisting, and rolling of the foot may lead to an ankle injury. In sports such as football or hockey, getting your foot stepped on can also cause ankle injury.
The severity of the symptoms from ankle injury typically depends on the severity of the damage.
A sprained or strained ankle can be extremely painful and has associated symptoms such as swelling, tenderness, popping sound at the time of injury, bruising, instability, and inability to walk due to extreme pain.
A diagnosis is made based on physical examination and investigations into the cause and mechanism of the original injury. The medical provider will check the area for tenderness and range of motion, as well as swelling and bruising. Xrays are usually not necessary, but may be performed if there is doubt about the extent of the injury.
Most ankle sprains and strains are treated without surgery.
The first-line treatment of an ankle sprain is rest, icing of the injured area, compression, and elevation of the foot to reduce swelling. The patient may also be advised to wear a brace to immobilize the ankle to aid in the healing process.
Anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen, are also helpful for reducing inflammation.
In many cases, physical therapy is useful for regaining strength after an ankle sprain or strain is healed.
In case of severe injury, orthopedic specialists may recommend specific immobilization or bracing. Facial abrasions and considered more serious as these have a higher risk of cicatrization and should be cleaned,debrided, and dressed daily. Dressings may require skin adhesives like the combination of gum mastic, styrax,alcohol, and methyl salicylate or tincture of benzoin.
In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.
When to visit a doctor:
If experience severe pain in your ankle, you should see a medical provider in order to avoid possible serious complications.
Treatment for ankle sprain and strain is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.