A sprain occurs when the ligaments which support the ankle and allow the foot to function are injured or torn. Ligaments keep the bones in place and are made up of durable bands of connective fibers. While the ligaments in the foot and ankle are elastic, a person can overload them which can cause them to overstretch or rip. An abrupt twist can force them to stretch beyond their ability and as a result the ligaments tear. Sprains are ranked by doctors using grades:
A sprain is usually the result of injury or a fall that puts excess pressure on the ankle and hurts the ligaments. The symptoms of a sprained ankle sprains include:
In most cases, the more severe the symptoms, the more serious the damage to the ankle. To determine how bad the sprain is, the podiatrist may order x-rays or an MRI to view the tissues.
In most cases, sprains can heal without intervention and application of the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method. After examination, the podiatrist can provide patients with a brace or supportive air cast. Compression bandages can be wrapped or worn, and the foot should be elevated to minimize the inflammation. The doctors may also use Traumeel injections to treat the injury. When the sprain is particularly severe, surgery can be performed to remove pieces of torn ligament, bone, and/or cartilage. Surgery can also be used to repair the ligament’s connection or rebuild it employing the biological material. Pain relieving drugs will also assist with managing discomfort during the initial healing period. The podiatrist can prescribe medications if the pain is especially troublesome.