Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries among athletes and nonathletes alike. But whether you rolled your ankle during a soccer game or simply lost your footing on uneven ground, it’s important to seek a proper diagnosis so you can receive the kind of care that helps you recover quickly and completely. At Universal Footcare in New York City, board-certified podiatrist Neha J. Pathak, DPM, offers prompt care for patients with ankle injuries. Call or request your appointment online today to visit Dr. Pathak at her office in Chelsea.
Your ankle is a complex joint that helps support your weight and provide mobility. It contains three tough bands of tissue, or ligaments, to help keep it from moving beyond its normal range of motion.
When you twist, roll, or turn your ankle, the awkward movement can put pressure on your ankle ligaments, causing them to stretch uncomfortably or even tear.
The most common type of ankle sprain occurs on the outside of the ankle during an inversion injury, which is when your foot rolls underneath your ankle or leg. Losing your footing, running on uneven terrain, or landing after jumping are just a few ways you may roll your ankle and get an inversion ankle sprain.
You can expect to feel some amount of pain or discomfort along the outside of your ankle, especially when you put weight on it. The severity of your pain and what other symptoms you experience are directly related to the extent of your injury. Ankle sprains are graded based on the degree of ligamentous injury:
Occurs when a ligament is stretched or sustains a minor tear. Most people with a grade 1 sprain experience mild ankle pain with little to no swelling. While there may be noticeable joint stiffness, most people can still walk with care.
Occurs when one of your ligaments sustains a partial tear that’s significant enough to cause moderate functional impairment. Grade 2 sprains cause moderate to severe pain that can make walking difficult. Swelling and bruising typically occur within 48 hours.
Occurs when one of your ligaments tears or ruptures completely, resulting in a total loss of integrity. Grade 3 sprains cause immediate, severe pain that makes your ankle feel weak and unstable. Immediate swelling is usual, while bruising may develop later.
If you think you’ve sprained your ankle, you can begin immediate home care by taking the PRICE approach: protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Applying ice for 10 minutes every hour can help reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling. Using a compression wrap from a standard first-aid kit can help protect and support the injured ligaments.
Because ankle reinjury is common after a sprain, it’s important to have Dr. Pathak evaluate the extent of your injury as soon as possible. She can provide a personalized care plan to get you back on your feet and minimize your chances of suffering another sprain.
Depending on the severity of your sprain, you may need to wear a brace or removable boot to protect and support your ankle as the ligaments heal. If you need to keep all weight off the affected ankle, you may also be given crutches.
Once your injury is fully healed, targeted exercises can help you increase your strength and range of motion to help your ankle attain full functionality.
To learn more about ankle sprain treatment, call Universal Footcare today or book your appointment online any time.