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Ankle Sprain

Ankle Sprain

What do roller skating, ice skating, futsal and even high heel use have in common? No takers?

Well, these are all common causes of outer ankle sprain!!

 Ankle ligament injury is common. Almost 25000 people experience it daily! Many of us have found this fact out the more painful way.

These injuries often occur due to a combination of causes,; from poor footwear,  poor foot dynamics to plain bad luck. It happens when the foot twists, rolls or turns beyond its normal limits. The ligaments are effective restraints but with excessive force this may partially or totally tear. Often, an awkwardly placed foot when running, stepping up or down, or even a simple task as getting out of bed may cause an ankle sprain. The injury also occurs during stepping on irregular surfaces especially when this happens unexpectedly, as seen when stepping into a hole. Some athletic events such as basketball and netball involve close body jumps where there is always a risk of planting your foot awkwardly and injuring the ankle.

The foot usually rolls inwards – inversion which is the more common form of ankle sprain seen.

How do you know that you have a sprain?

Firstly the abnormal movement has to be one than can cause a sprain. The most common one would be that of a plantar flexed foot being awkwardly planted with a subsequent movement of the foot.

If you find you ankle swelling up especially the part over the outer part, congratulations you’ve probably sprained it or worse. Movements are usually painful.

When to worry?

Most mild ankle sprains don’t require an immediate trip to the doctor. Please worry (don’t panic) if:

The pain is poorly controlled by the RICE Protocol ( please see RICE and Use of Cold and Hot in Injury) and over the counter medications.

You are unable to comfortably walk for more than 4 steps or you experience severe pain when pressing over the medial or lateral malleolus, the bony bulges on each side of the ankle – this requires an radiograph to rule out a fracture.

You cannot move the injured ankle comfortably.

The foot or ankle is misshapen beyond normal swelling.

You experience loss of feeling in the foot or toes.

You are not fairly improved by a few days.

Why worry?

Most ankle sprains can be treated conservatively but this has to be done right from the word go. The more severe sprains may require the use of a specific ankle brace which allows the injured ligament to heal in its best possible position.

It is also necessary to rule out the more serious injury too.

This will often require the input of your Orthopaedic or Sports Surgeon.

Most Improtant of all…….. Take home message numero uno…….

Please visit your Orthopaedic Surgeon if you are unsure about the severity of your injury.

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