If you are like me or the other 25,000 people in the US who suffer an ankle sprain each day, then you have suffered through the recovery of an ankle injury. More than 1 million Americans present to emergency rooms annually because of ankle injuries. Approximately one-half of ankle injuries occur during athletic activity. Adolescents age 10-19 have 1.5x greater incidence of ankle sprains than the general population. Increased activity during summermonths also escalates incidence and risk of injuring the foot and ankle.
Ligaments are elastic structures that extend between bones to hold and support joints in proper position. An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments that support the ankle are stretched beyond their normal range of motion. When the ligament is stretched beyond its limit, it will rupture or even pull a small piece of bone loose. This is called an avulsion fracture. The large majority (85%) of ankle injuries are inversion; when the foot turns in and rolls “under” the leg. This causes injury to the ligaments on the outside/lateral aspect of the ankle.
Ankle sprains are graded on the severity of the injury; Defined as Grade 1, 2, or 3.
Grade 1: R.I.C.E. therapy, limit activity, walking as tolerated, and begin range of motion exercises when pain has improved and physical therapy.
Grade 2: R.I.C.E. therapy. Immobilize with brace or splint for 1-2 weeks, then begin range of motion exercises when pain has improved and physical therapy.
Grade 3: R.I.C.E therapy. Increased immobilization period – cast or cast boot. Aggressive physical therapy. May have associated or prolonged injury.
R – REST: Limit activity, avoid walking and running.
I – ICE: Apply immediately following injury. Continue for 20 min several times daily over the next week until swelling/edema resolves.
C – COMPRESSION: Ace wraps, compression sleeve, and lace-up brace help reduce swelling and pain.
E – ELEVATION: Elevate the ankle above the level of your heart for at least the first 2-3 days.
When to see a foot & ankle specialist
It is important to be evaluated by specialist if pain and inability to perform normal activity continues after the injury or if you have experienced multiple or recurrent ankle sprains. This may be a sign of an underlying more serious injury or chronic instability.
The best way to prevent any injury is maintain proper strength, flexibility, and muscle balance.
- Warm up and stretch properly before physical activity.
- Be cautious when walking, working, and exercising on uneven surfaces.
- Wear proper supportive shoe gear.
A thorough examination by a foot & ankle specialist can determine any risk factors for injury. Providing personalized advice for injury prevention can help everyone enjoy his or her favorite activities.
For an appointment with one of our doctors at one of our nine Southern California locations please call 877-989-9110 or click to make your appointment online.
Dr. Campbell enjoys the outdoors and shortly after he moved to Southern California took up surfing. However, when the waves are flat you can find him on the golf course or riding his motorcycle.
Dr. Campbell is available for consultation at our Santa Barbara office.
Learn more about Dr. Campbell by visiting our website: http://www.footankleinstitute.com/podiatrist-santa-barbara
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