Many individuals who experience a sprain mistake the injury for a broken bone at first. Ankle sprains can cause a wide range of pain levels and can also be caused by a variety of activities, and they are a result of the ligaments in your ankle being stretched beyond their normal limits. To better understand ankle sprains, it’s helpful to know the causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
What causes an ankle sprain?
The most common cause of an ankle sprain is related to sporting activities. Often, during high intensity sports, players are hard on their ankles and cause strain – in fact, ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries. Ankle sprains can be a result of walking or running on an uneven surface, landing too hard on the ankles after jumping, rolling the ankle, or other high impact injuries, such as car accidents.
What are the symptoms of an ankle sprain?
Symptoms of an ankle sprain include: pain when the injury occurs, continuing pain, tenderness when touched, and the inability to put pressure on the ankle. The ankle can also swell and bruise if the injury is more severe. It is important to note that many of these symptoms resemble an ankle break, so it’s helpful to visit a doctor for an x-ray and an examination after an injury. In some cases, an ankle sprain is more painful than a break.
How is an ankle sprain treated?
A good way to remember how to treat an ankle sprain is the word PRINCE:
- P: Protection of the ankle is necessary for healing. Consider getting a brace for your ankle.
- R: Resting your foot will allow the ankle to heal and help prevent further injury.
- I: Icing will help to reduce swelling and may reduce pain.
- N: NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can reduce swelling and pain.
- C: Compression, such as the use of an elastic compression brace, can increase circulation to the injured area and help healing.
- E: Elevation will reduce swelling and bruising.
Following these simple steps, along with any additional instructions or advice from your orthopedic doctor, will help you to heal quickly and learn how to prevent sprains in the future.