How is an Ankle Sprain Diagnosed?
The foot and ankle doctor will inquire about the cause of injury and the patient’s health history and examine the patient’s foot and ankle, lower leg and in some cases the knee to determine how far the pain extends from the injury site.
Mild sprains may not require an X-ray. However, X-rays likely will be ordered for a more severe sprain in order to rule out a fracture in the ankle or foot.
What is the Treatment for an Ankle Sprain?
The foot and ankle specialists at Orthopaedics will recommend the following for an ankle sprain with only mild ligament damage:
- Use a protective brace
- Use crutches until pain subsides
- NSAIDS to reduce pain and swelling
- If the patient’s ankle remains unstable or painful after the above treatment, physical therapy may be indicated. If there is severe ligament damage, the doctor may recommend surgery to repair the torn ligaments.
It is essential to properly treat and rehabilitate an ankle sprain to ensure a full recovery. If the sprain does not heal correctly, the ankle will become unstable and weak and will be more at risk to be reinjured or more likely to develop chronic pain.
What Causes an Ankle Sprain?
Ankle sprains often occur when the foot is planted and there is a rapid shifting motion, causing the ankle to roll outward while the foot turns inward, or vice versa. This outward roll of the ankle forces the ligaments along the outside to stretch and tear, whereas the ligaments on the inside are damaged with an inward roll of the ankle.
What are the Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain?
Depending on the severity of the ligament damage, an ankle sprain may result in pain, bruising, swelling, tenderness, instability and inability to put weight on the ankle. In more severe cases, the patient may hear or feel a tear, pop or snap. Usually, the greater the pain and swelling, the more severe the sprain is and the longer recovery time.