An ankle sprain is a relatively common condition, particularly in active individuals. This type of injury occurs when the ankle is twisted or turned inappropriately. In simple terms, there are ligaments in the ankle area and these are responsible for connecting the leg to the foot. They are flexible and allow a wide range of motion to facilitate actions such as walking, running and stretching. However, the ligaments have boundaries which are indispensable in keeping the joint stable. If your movement breaks these limits, the ligaments will be strained or torn, causing an ankle sprain. It is advisable to consult a podiatrist after this type of injury for assessment of the severity. Here is some basic information to help you understand sprained ankles better.
Most cases of sprained ankles when the legs are shifted and stretched rapidly occur during vigorous athletic activities. Unexpected movement of the ankle joint when walking will also contribute to a sprain and might damage the cartilage and blood vessels in the area. You should note that there are factors which increase the risk of sustaining this injury. If you exercise on uneven surfaces or participate in contact sports, you are likely to experience sprains. Inappropriate footwear such as high-heeled shoes or shoes with poor heel support will also contribute to tearing of ankle ligaments.
You will experience pain immediately when the ankle sprain occurs. The intensity of the pain will vary depending on the severity of the injury. The ankle will start swelling because the blood vessels will leak fluid into the area due to the trauma. You may feel the pain as throbbing as the swelling increases and becomes sensitive. The ankle will be tender, and you will notice bruising or discolouration. You will have difficulty moving the ankle joints and experience severe discomfort if weight is exerted on the affected foot.
You should consult a physician before starting any treatment plan, especially if the injury is severe. However, you can also alleviate the pain and discomfort at home. Rest your injured ankle and do not place your body weight on it. You should also apply ice on the affected area and elevate the foot to reduce the swelling, and consequently, the pain. In addition, you can take mild anti-inflammatory painkillers and apply an elastic bandage to compress the injury.
Ankle sprains can be prevented by improving exercise and sports practices. For example, stretch and warm up sufficiently before vigorous activity. Additionally, choose good footwear that supports your foot's heel.
For more information about caring for your ankle and feet, you may want to contact a local podiatrist.