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Richardson Podiatry Center

Ankle Sprain: When Ligaments Go Too Far

A bad speech, whether it’s for a wedding or a graduation, involves the speaker taking a joke or a memory just a little too far. They get carried away with their words, and with nobody to stop them, they ramble on into throngs of embarrassing stories and ostracizing jokes. An ankle sprain is when your ligaments stretch “too far,” past the point of no return.Runner with twisted ankle

This Painful Sprain Does the Talking

When the ankle twists or rolls beyond its range-of-motion, the force can pull, stretch, and even tear the ligaments that hold the bones of your ankle in position: this is an ankle sprain. Most often, the ankle rolls outward while the foot turns inward. If the injury affects the tissues, you might hear a “pop.” Depending on how severe the sprain is, you might not be able to balance or even stand up.

This common injury has three stages of severity. The mildest sprain involves some slight stretching and a little damage to the ligament. The modest sprained ankle happens when you tear the ligament partially. Upon examination, this kind of sprain will produce an abnormal instability when the ankle is moved. In severe sprains, where someone completely tears the ligament, a very loose ankle instability is visible with movement.

A tell-tale sign that you have a sprained ankle is immediate swelling, pain, tenderness, and inability to move the area. You might also see a bruise forming. If you hear a “pop” or tearing noise, you will have extreme pain and will not be able to walk on the foot or put weight on it at all.

Torn Ligaments Happen When Bends Overstay Their Welcome

You can over-bend your ligaments by stepping on uneven ground like a pothole or an object hidden in the grass. Soccer and football are big contributors to this common sports injury because they involve rapid shifts in foot movement, especially during foot work and tackles.

To prevent a sprain, you need to maintain good flexibility and strength in your ankles with proper stretching before and after activities. When you’re playing sports, recognize that fatigue increases your chance of injury. If you feel pain, act accordingly. This injury doesn’t just happen to athletes, but adults and children too. For this reason, pay attention to walking surfaces and wear the correct shoes for each activity.

Give Ankle Sprains the Boot—Fast!

ankle pain while runningImmediate treatment can be administered using the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. First, wrap the foot in some sort of compression. This will keep the area stable and serve as a protective barrier between the skin and the ice. Next, elevate the foot above the heart to keep swelling down. To reduce pain and swelling, rest and ice the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time and repeat after a 10-minute break from the cold pack.

You should always see a doctor for a sprained ankle. If you start to walk on it too soon, you risk chronic pain and instability. Plus, you could re-sprain your ankle if it hasn’t had the proper time to heal because the muscles are too weak and imbalanced. At Richardson Podiatry Associates, we can take X-rays of your foot and prescribe the best treatment options for your full recovery.

Don’t wait until you’ve gone too far. Make an appointment by calling our office in Richardson, TX at (972) 690-5374. To prevent another foot injury, follow our Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook feeds for more advice and answers to your questions on all things feet-related.