Ankle sprains are one of the frequently occurring types of sports-related injuries. They are also extremely common amongst the general population. In fact, approximately 25,000 people in the U.S. suffer an ankle sprain every single day. An ankle sprain occurs when you stretch or tear the ligaments that connect the bones within the joint. However, these injuries are often confused with a milder form of ankle injury known as a strain. Oftentimes, a strain can be treated at home with a combination of rest, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, and ice. On the other hand, severe ankle sprains will likely require professional medical treatment. We have outlined the five signs of an ankle sprain so that you can more accurately identify your injury. This information will help you determine the right course of action when seeking treatment for your condition.
While both ankle strains and sprains can cause pain, the discomfort associated with the latter is usually more severe. A sprained ankle will typically be tender to the touch and produce ongoing discomfort. The pain will be most distinct when attempting to put your weight on the injured ankle.
2. Limited Range of Motion
When the ligaments of the ankle are overstretched, the result is a reduced range of motion. In severe ankle sprains, patients are often unable to bend, flex, or turn the affected foot. Unfortunately, these types of sprains can take months to heal and may require surgical intervention. However, there are a few alternative treatments available that may allow patients to avoid invasive procedures.
Patients who suffer from an ankle sprain will also experience swelling. If the sprain substantially tore the ligaments within the joint, then the swelling may occur almost immediately. While there are exceptions, swelling is closely linked to the amount of damage to the joint.
4. Chronic Instability
Ankle sprains are often characterized by chronic instability, especially if the ligaments are partially or completely torn. Patients may experience a shaky sensation when walking, standing, or placing weight on the joint. Some physicians may recommend a brace to stabilize the ankle while the ligaments heal.
5. A Distinct Pop
If you feel or hear a distinct pop within your ankle joint at the time of injury, this is a strong indicator that you suffered a sprain. The popping sound is caused by the tearing of the tightly stretched ligaments within the joint. If you have suffered an ankle sprain or have one of these signs of an ankle sprain or other significant joint injuries, then you may be a candidate for regenerative medicine options. To receive a complimentary assessment, contact a Care Coordinator to learn more.