One is more likely to get an ankle sprain while doing sports but it can easily occur in everyday life. Sprains are injuries to ligaments found within ankle joints. These ligaments are band-like structures which are elastic and hold the bones together preventing excessive twisting and turning of the joint. A sprain occurs when the ankle ligaments have been overstretched and in some severe cases the ligament may end up being partially or completely torn. A sprain may occur when stepping on an irregular surface, when planting your foot awkwardly, when running or walking and even when getting inversion injuries caused by the foot rolling inwards.
There are several symptoms that are indicative of an ankle sprain. The most common is swelling which is a result of an increase of the tissue fluid. This may be accompanied by warmth and redness of the area due to the increase of the blood flow. Since nerves convey messages in the body, you feel pain and it may even get worse if the area is pressed or you move the foot in certain directions. Symptoms may become severe such as experiencing bad pain when walking or inability to walk at all.
There are various methods of treating an ankle sprain, depending on its severity. First and foremost, you need to rest the affected area. This reduces pain, prevents recurrence of the injury and minimizes stress on the inflamed tissue. The joint can be placed at rest by wearing a splint or a brace. Crutches are used in severe conditions. Some physical therapists may put weight bearings so as to accelerate the rehabilitation process. Ice is placed on the sprain to reduce pain, swelling and redness. If placed immediately following the injury it prevents the development of inflammation and counters the increase of blood flow to the area. However, do not place the ice directly on the skin as this may develop frostbite.
Compression and strapping reduce swelling, provide support, prevent inflammation and bleeding. Elastic wraps should not be applied too tightly but sufficiently enough to immobilize the ankle. Finally, keep the ankle sprain elevated at all times. This helps the body to absorb the leaked fluids from the tissue. The ankle should be propped up in a way that it is above heart level. Sitting in a reclining chair or placing your leg on pillows will help. Anti inflammatory medications fight the swelling and reduce pain.
In some instances, laser treatment can be used to reduce inflammation, pain and promote healing. Cross friction massage sessions secure faster healing and taper off the scar development. You can prevent ankle sprains by wearing correct shoes for a particular activity or taping a weak ankle if you are participating in a sport. A podiatrist should be consulted in case you have bunions or flat feet as these could lead to ankle instability. An ankle rehabilitation program may be prescribed by a specialist to strengthen joints and prevent any recurrence of the sprain.