Sprained ankles are a relatively common injury, especially among athletes and older men and women. Sometimes, ice and rest are the only treatments your sprain may need, but some sprains require an approach customized for your specific cause and symptoms. Dr. Patrick D. Roberto treats patients with sprained ankles at both of his offices, Achilles Foot Care in Delmont and Monroeville, Pennsylvania. Call the practice or book online for an appointment to find how Dr. Roberto can help relieve your pain and swelling and improve your mobility.
Sprains are injuries that involve ligaments, which are the strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to another. In your ankle, ligaments connect the bones that comprise the joint and help support normal joint movement and balance. Sprains occur when a ligament is stretched or strained beyond its normal limits.
Ankle sprains are very common. The American Foot and Ankle Orthopedic Society says that in the United States, about 25,000 ankle sprains occur each day.
Most ankle sprains occur when the ankle is twisted or bent, either inward (most common) or outward. Many sprains are the result of falls or sports-related injuries, including injuries from pivoting movements like changing direction rapidly. Less often, a direct-impact injury results in a sprain.
Sprains are more common among athletes and among people who have balance or gait-related problems. They’re also more likely to occur in people who have nerve-related issues like diabetic neuropathy, since these problems make it difficult to feel where and how you’re placing your foot, making missteps more likely.
Sprains can cause considerable pain, especially when you place weight on your ankle or when you turn it from one side to another. With a more severe sprain, you might notice some swelling around the ankle as well. Many sprains are accompanied by a snapping or popping noise when they first occur.
Diagnosis of an ankle sprain starts with a review of your symptoms and your injury, followed by an exam of your ankle. Dr. Roberto gently moves your ankle to evaluate the source of the pain, and he may order an X-ray of your ankle to rule out a fracture and to assess the joint. Most sprains heal with conservative treatments such as:
Dr. Roberto may place your ankle in a splint or brace. Keeping your ankle elevated can also help reduce swelling. If the ligament is badly stretched or completely torn, you might need surgery to tighten the ligament or to repair it with a graft.