You would be surprised just how much weight can bear down on the ankle joint. The ankle joint provides balance and stability as it holds the weight of basically our entire body.
Because of the excessive use of the ankle joint, ankle sprains are one of the most common orthopedic injuries. In fact, there are over one million ankle injuries per year, with 85% of these injuries being ankle sprains. These injuries are most common in those who play sports but are equally common in people who sprain their ankle from suddenly tripping on, say a step, or who slip while exercising. Many people want to quickly heal their ankle sprains, but it’s important to know what type of ankle sprain you can first in order to apply proper treatment.
Not all ankle sprains are alike. Ankle sprains can be categorized in several forms: the high ankle sprain, the medial ankle sprain and the low ankle sprain.
High Ankle Sprain:Injures ligaments that connect to the tibia and fibula and the ankle joint.
Medial Ankle Sprain:Injures the inside ligaments (collectively referred to as the deltoid ligaments).
Low Ankle Sprain:Involves ligaments connected to the subtalar joint. The subtalar joint is a joint that is actually just below the ankle joint and allows it to move in and out.
Almost 85% of all ankle injuries occur on the lateral or outside joint which is what we will be focussing on next:
How do you know you have an ankle sprain?
Shortly after an ankle sprain, you may experience symptoms such as pain, swelling, bruising, and joint instability.
You are most likely to feel pain right after the injury occurs. The pain can be sharp, localized, burning or numb. In time, the pain may lessen and spread out around the ankle area.
Swelling usually comes next and usually is the biggest physical indication of injury. Swelling can enlarge when a vein has been torn or if the ankle isn’t raised immediately after injury. Though swelling can indicate injury, it cannot accurate show the severity of the injury because the size of swelling depends on whether the ankle is elevated after injury or not.
Bruising is also common in ankle sprains. Blood may pool in certain areas and leave black or blue bruises around the ankle area.
Joint instability occurs when there a “wobbly” or “instable” sensation in the ankle joint. You may even hear a “pop” or a “snap” which indicated that you should definitely consider stopping whatever you’re doing and rest your ankle.
How to treat an ankle sprain?
Rest: One of the most effective treatments of sprained ankles is rest. Some people even use crutches to get maximum rest while injured.
Ice: Use it sparingly. Ice is appropriate immediately after a sprain but then should be backed off at least 48 hours after. Feel free to contact me if you have question on ice/heat protocol for acute injury.
Compression:The compression bandage will help reduce swelling and heal your ankle sprain faster. Apply bandage for the first 24-36 hours.
Elevation: Elevating you ankle over your heart 2-3 hours a day will reduce bruising and swelling in the area.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture is actually very effective at healing ankle sprains. There are meridian points located in the front and back of the legs, as well as the feet that when triggered, can greatly impact the lower leg/foot complex. Acupuncture can also help heal damaged tissue in ligaments and tendons along with topical herbal ligaments and poultices.