Ankle sprains are one of the most common foot injuries. It occurs when we twist, bend or turn the ankle abruptly or unnaturally.
Although it is a very common condition in the sports world, in everyday life it can also occur due to causes such as the use of inappropriate footwear, a fall with poor support, running or walking on an uneven surface, etc.
ANKLE SPRAIN. WHAT IS THIS FOOT INJURY ABOUT?
The ankle is a very sensitive joint, and twisting or turning in an unnatural direction can cause the ligaments that hold the bones together and provide stability to stretch, tear or break.
Its treatment depends on the degree of ligament injury and a professional medical evaluation is always necessary and recommended to avoid more serious problems in the future.
SYMPTOMS. HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A SPRAIN?
Symptoms of ankle sprain vary depending on the severity of the injury.
The most frequent are:
- Swelling or edema around the ankle.
- Pain when weight is placed on the foot and, slightly, when the ankle is touched.
- Limited ankle mobility.
- Instability in the joint.
TYPES OF ANKLE SPRAINS
As we indicated, the most important thing is to go to a professional as soon as possible to tell us what type of sprain we have. Depending on the severity, the appropriate treatment will be applied. Mainly there are 3 grades:
- Grade 1 sprain: When the ligaments are stretched but not torn, it is referred to as a “mild” strain.
- Grade 2 sprain: when some of the ligaments are torn, but there is still continuity in their fibers, it is a moderate sprain.
- Grade 3 sprain: this is the most serious sprain due to the total rupture of the ligaments and requires surgical intervention.
CAUSES. FACTORS THAT CAN CAUSE THIS INJURY
Although the main cause of an ankle sprain is a sharp twist on the outside of the foot, there are several risk factors that can lead to this injury:
The surface of the floor can have a big effect on the way you move. For example, if we walk or play sports on unstable and uneven terrain, our ankles are likely to be sprained because there is not enough traction for your feet to work properly, which increases the risk of injury.
The type of footwear you wear can also influence the risk of injury during a workout. We are not only talking about sports-related injuries, but the fact that the wrong choice of footwear can also lead to these injuries.
The type of gait: Patients with a supinated or varus gait are at greater risk of injury because their feet spend most of their time on an outside edge. This can lead to sprains and is quite common among patients with recurrent problems. We recommend that you visit a podiatrist for the study and preparation of customized insoles to improve ankle stability.
Previous ankle injuries: There is also a strong correlation between people who have suffered multiple sprains and chronic ankle instability.
On the other hand, patients with hyperlaxity are less likely to suffer an ankle twist or sprain due to the greater elasticity of their ligaments.
However, it is also possible that they may suffer injuries, although less serious.
TREATMENT. SOLUTIONS FOR SPRAINED ANKLES
Treatment of an ankle sprain varies depending on the severity.
The most frequent solutions are as follows:
- Professional rehabilitation: The physical therapist will focus on mobility, reduction of inflammation and recovery of injured tissue. You will also be able to provide strengthening exercises to reinforce muscles after they have been strained or torn.
- Splint immobilization can be used to treat severe cases where ligament rupture has occurred.
This solution is rare and is only performed when the injury is very severe.
- Durable, elastic compression bandages are ideal for the first week or two after a sprain. They help to keep the skin stretched, which translates into less pain when performing any movement.
- After a biomechanical study of the footprint, the use of customized orthopedic insoles helps to increase stability. This treatment will be very important in cases where there is a type of supination, which can cause ankle sprain with more. Insoles are also recommended for people with joint hyperlaxity and old injuries that have left them with some degree of chronic ankle instability.
RECOMMENDATIONS. TIPS FOR PREVENTING AN ANKLE SPRAIN
Warm-up exercises are a good way to warm up muscles before sports or exercise. It is also important for muscle tone and balance.
It is important, on the other hand, to be careful when walking, running or working on an uneven surface.
If you have already injured your ankle, use an elastic band to help keep it stable. Ask a specialist about the right amount of support for the injury and the best location on the body, as each person’s situation varies.
When you go outside, be sure to wear appropriate footwear. Avoiding high heels if you have suffered previous ankle sprains.
We must be aware of our limitations when practicing a sport. You should always train and be prepared to avoid injury, as exercising beyond our capabilities can lead to problems later on.
For any questions you may have, please contact Clínica San Román