What You Need To Know About A Sprained Ankle
Sprained ankles are among the most common injuries, with thousands of people spraining their ankles every day. These injuries are not limited to athletes. Anyone can have a sprained ankle, and these injuries can occur during ordinary activities, such as walking down the sidewalk.
Many people use the words “sprain” and “strain” interchangeably, but they actually refer to distinct types of injuries. A sprain happens when there is stretching or tearing of one of your ligaments. These are the fibrous bands of tissue that connect one bone to another at a joint.
A strain, on the other hand, involves stretching or tearing a muscle or a tendon. The tendons are the bands that connect a muscle to a bone. Both sprains and strains can be quite painful and debilitating, and some injuries can result in both a sprain and a strain.
A sprained ankle happens when your foot moves in a way that is outside its normal range of motion. For example, if you step on an uneven surface, your foot can move in a way that puts too much force on the ankle joint. If this force is too great, the ligaments will be stretched and can tear.
If you step and experience pain in your ankle, this may be a sign that you have sprained it. In some cases, you may be unable to put any weight on the affected foot. A popping sound can even be heard in some cases. The ankle will become painful and may swell up.
Sprains are generally rated on a three-point scale depending upon the severity of the injury. A Grade 1 sprain is the mildest. It involves a slight stretching of the ligament, but not a complete or even partial tear. While the ankle may feel sore, you should still be able to walk without significant difficulty.
With a Grade 2 sprain, the ligament has partially torn. These sprains are more painful and it can be much harder to put any weight on your foot. The ankle joint may be abnormally loose and move in unusual ways.
Grade 3 sprains are the most severe and involve a complete tear of the ligament. You will be unable to walk or put any weight on your foot. When a doctor examines your ankle, it will be significantly unstable and he will be able to move the joint more freely than is normal.
If you suspect that you have sprained your ankle, it is important to see a doctor right away. By using X-rays, they can make sure that you have not broken any bones. Mild sprains can often be treated at home by protecting the joint until it heals. More severe sprains may require surgical intervention.
Keep the area immobilized for four to six weeks to let it heal. Use ice to keep any swelling down, and take anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen. With the proper care, a sprained ankle can heal so that you will be able to regain your previous mobility.