Understanding Ankle Sprains

One of the most common injuries for those who are physically active – and even those who are just clumsy or living life normally and had the misfortune of taking a bad fall – ankle sprains occur when the foot twists or rolls with sudden or unexpected movement, such as during sports or walking on uneven surfaces. 

Ankle sprains usually occur on the outside of the ankle when the lateral ligaments – strong, fibrous tissues that connect bones to each other – are stretched more than they should be or torn. The injury can range from minor microtears in the tissue, to complete ruptures which will require immediately medical attention. Symptoms include pain around the ankle (of course), swelling, bruising, limited motion of the ankle and instability. Severe cases may be accompanied by a popping sound or sensation at the time of injury.

Ankle sprains can happen easily while playing sports. | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

What causes Ankle Sprains?

Clumsiness, which is generally a poor sense of positioning and spatial awareness, will increase the risk of getting ankle sprains. This is especially so when playing high-intensity sports like basketball which require a lot of fine legwork and running, which will increase the chance of you falling and sustaining an ankle sprain.

Feet that turn inwards, such as in in-toeing, also place you at higher risk of spraining your ankles. Other conditions that cause difficulty in walking such as bunions or a high-arched foot can also put you at risk of falling more, which can leave you vulnerable to ankle sprains.

Best Ankle Sprain Treatment

Ankle sprains are generally simple to treat, and mostly involve limiting movement and reducing the pressure put on the affected ankle. You can follow the popular RICE method below:

  • Rest. Rest and protect the injured or sore area. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may be causing your pain or soreness.
  • Ice. Cold will reduce pain and swelling. Apply an ice or cold pack right away to prevent or minimize swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day. Do not apply ice or heat directly to the skin. Place a towel over the cold or heat pack before applying it to the skin.
  • Compression. Compression, or wrapping the injured or sore area with an elastic bandage, will help decrease swelling. Don’t wrap it too tightly, because this can cause more swelling below the affected area. Loosen the bandage if it gets too tight.
  • Elevation. Elevate the injured or sore area on pillows while applying ice and anytime you are sitting or lying down. Try to keep the area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling.

A history of repeated sprains further increases the risk of getting more sprains and may lead to long-term problems such as ankle instability, chronic pain and even arthritis. If further complications arise from your ankle sprain, do not hesitate to book a consultation with us.

Written by Kardem Kiter
Written by Kardem Kiter

Based in Singapore, Degree in Podiatric Medicine from the University of Johannesburg. Published in The Foot and member of The Golden Key Honour Society.

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