What is a sprained ankle?
A sprained ankle is a very common injury that can occur suddenly during work, sport, and in everyday activities. Ligaments on the outside and inside of the ankle help prevent the joint from straying out of position. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched and breaks, which results in reduced stability in the ankle joint.
Causes and symptoms
An ankle sprain is caused by damage to the ligaments, which typically occurs as a result of twisting the ankle. This can happen, for example, when you accidently step in a hole or land badly after jumping. People with poor balance tend to get sprains more easily.
Typically, the pain will be immediately experienced in the injured joint and the surrounding muscles. Additionally, bleeding and swelling will often occur across the injured ligament.
Diagnosis and treatment
Limit the swelling
You can attempt to limit the swelling by adhering to the RICE principle. RICE stands for:
- Ice (cool your injury)
- Compression (put an elastic band around your ankle)
- Elevation (keep your foot above your heart)
It is important to begin active mobility exercises straight after suffering an ankle sprain. Later, it becomes important to rehabilitate the diminished balance in the ankle by using exercises to train the stabilizing muscles in the ankle region. Neglecting to perform these exercises will increase the likelihood of prolonged discomfort. An unstable ankle is likely to be plagued by further sprains that will increase in frequency over time.
Use the Injurymap diagnosis tool to find out if you are ready to treat your ankle pain with rehabilitative exercises.