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Ankle sprain: symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

When a doctor diagnoses a sprain, he refers to an injury to the ligaments in which a displacement occurs, relaxing or tearing these ligaments. It is a fairly common disorder that causes inflammation and pain.

Although ligaments are strong, flexible fibers that support bones, a sprained ankle can be caused by simple actions such as stepping or slipping. This happens because we stretch the ligament more than its average capacity. After all, in some moments, we defy gravity; this is added to the body weight causing the ligaments to extend too much. It is essential to see a doctor if you have or suspect a sprain and constantly monitor it. This time, FastlyHealwants you to know all about sprained ankles: symptoms and treatment.

Different degrees of ankle sprain

When you suffer from an ankle sprain, it is essential to visit a doctor as soon as possible to rule out a bone break, which needs urgent attention.

There are three different degrees of ankle sprain :

  • There is only a ligament strain in the first, but there is no tear in the ligament, which is why it is considered the mildest sprain.
  • In the second degree, the sprain can be mild or moderate since, in this, there is a tear of the ligament, but it does not have a tear. However, this ankle sprain may be accompanied by a bone fracture, which would make it necessary to implement immobilization of the foot.
  • In the third degree of ankle sprain, a total rupture of the ligament is suffered and may or may not be associated with a bone fracture. It is the most severe sprain and requires more complex treatment.

Symptoms of ankle sprain

Generally, ankle ligament injury occurs accidentally due to a lousy movement; it can happen by misstepping when wearing heels, doing sports, tripping, or slipping.

Among the most common symptoms of an ankle sprain are:

  • Intense pain in the ankle area. Consequently, there are limitations such as not being able to support the foot correctly or not being able to make some movements. Depending on how severe the injury is, the pain will be more or less intense, but it is always necessary to go to a doctor and treat it.
  • Inflammation of the affected part. The ankle swells considerably, but unlike a fracture or dislocation, the joint bones are not deformed or displaced.
  • Heat and altered sensitivity due to swelling and increased blood in the injured area. The ankle feels hot, and the sensitivity is much greater when an ankle sprain occurs.
  • Bruises appear in cases when one or more blood vessels are broken. Although rare, the hematoma can spread to various foot areas due to the movement of the injured tissue. The color changes as the days go by; in general, at first, the hematoma is in a tiny purple sector, and with the days, it expands to the foot and lightens its color.

The primary treatment for ankle sprain

It is a treatment intended for any degree of the sprain to relieve discomfort and improve the condition. These are straightforward actions that can be combined to make the result faster.

  • The first thing you should do is rest since it is essential to benefit the recovery of the ligaments. It is necessary to avoid that the ankle has weight mainly during the first 24 and 48 hours, so it is recommended to stay seated or to lie down most of the time.
  • If this is not possible, you can choose to use crutches and thus prevent the affected area from bearing the whole body’s weight.
  • On the other hand, it is recommended that you apply ice during the first 48 hours of the accident since it is a natural anti-inflammatory, which can help you soothe the pain and existing swelling. You should perform this action approximately every two hours.
  • It is also recommended that you compress the injured area with a bandage. In this way, you protect the ligament and reduce the inflammation that causes an ankle sprain.

Another simple action that you could take against this disorder is to raise the foot above the heart level. It would help if you did this for the first few hours after the sprain occurs while using the bandage to compress it and apply ice.

Physiotherapy treatment for ankle sprain

It is a treatment that must be performed under the control of a physiotherapist and is intended to relieve the affected area during and after the injury.

  • It can include processes such as mobilization of the affected area. This consists of gradually increasing the movement of the joints that are in poor condition but that never hurt. This takes time, which will depend on the degree of an ankle sprain.
  • In addition, contrast baths can be performed along with the application of ice to improve the symptoms of an ankle sprain significantly. Two containers are used, one with hot water, approximately 40 degrees, and the other with cold water, 15 degrees. The affected foot should be placed in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes, then in the cold water for 1 or 3 minutes, and return to the hot water for another 4 minutes. These changes must be made quickly, and the process takes 30 minutes, but you must do it only under the supervision of a doctor.
  • In addition to the above, during the physiotherapeutic treatment, they can apply massages to the affected area to drain the joint, helping to reduce inflammation. This can be accompanied by other techniques such as, for example, the use of ultrasound.
  • On the other hand, after having spent time with the foot immobilized, the muscles of the place are weakened, so it is important to strengthen them. With physiotherapeutic treatment, the specialist strengthens the muscles in the injured joint, increasing their resistance to prevent the disorder from appearing again.

Medical and surgical treatment

It is essential to consult a doctor before any ankle sprain to provide the corresponding treatment. There are medications that the specialist can offer you to help with pain and inflammation, although they should only be consumed under your prescription.

On the other hand, grade three ankle sprain may need surgical treatment to repair the torn ligaments. Currently, attempts are made to avoid this process using the treatments above.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to an Ankle sprain: symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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