The ankle joint, which connects the foot with the lower leg, is injured often. An unnatural twisting motion can happen when the foot is planted awkwardly, when the ground is uneven, or when an unusual amount of force is applied to the joint. Ankle sprains are common sports injuries but can also happen during everyday activities such as walking or even getting out of bed.
Ligaments are injured when a greater than normal stretching force is applied to them. This happens most commonly when the foot is turned inward or inverted. This kind of injury can happen in the following ways:
- Awkwardly planting the foot when running, stepping up or down, or during simple tasks such as getting out of bed
- Stepping on a surface that is irregular, such as stepping in a hole
- Athletic events when one player steps on another player , such as tackling during soccer.
- Inversion injuries, in which the foot rolls inward, are more common than eversion injuries (also referred to as a high ankle sprain), in which the foot twists outward.
Tissue injury and inflammation occur when an ankle is sprained. Blood vessels become “leaky” and allow fluid to ooze into the soft tissue surrounding the joint. White blood cells responsible for inflammation migrate to the area, and blood flow increases.
The following are signs of inflammation:
Due to increased fluid in the tissue, is sometimes severe.
The nerves are more sensitive. The joint hurts and may throb. The pain can worsen when the sore area is pressed or the foot moves in certain directions (depending upon which ligament is involved) and during walking or standing.
Redness and warmth
Caused by increased blood flow to the area
Care at home can help reduce pain and aid healing. Because most of the pain is caused by inflammation, the goal is to reduce and prevent inflammation.
Remember RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest prevents further injury and avoids stress on already inflamed tissue.
- Put the ankle joint at rest by wearing a brace or splint.
- More severe sprains may be treated with use of crutches.
Ice is the best treatment.
Applying ice to the injury will do more for most people than medications. Ice counteracts the increased blood flow to the injured area. It reduces swelling, redness, and warmth. Applied soon after the injury, ice prevents much of the inflammation from developing.
Use a towel between the ice and the injury, or use an ice bag. Apply ice for 20 minutes at a time, with at least 30 minutes between applications. This is to prevent frostbite, which can occur if you use ice too much or use it directly on your skin for extended periods.
Compression (sometimes called “strapping”) provides support and helps prevent inflammation.
Elastic wraps immobilize the ankle.
Do not apply wraps too tightly. Elevation (keeping the injured area up as high as possible) will help the body absorb fluid that has leaked into the tissue. Ideally, prop the ankle up so that it is above the level of the heart. Sit in a reclining chair or prop your legs up with pillows. Anti-inflammatory pain medications will reduce the pain and combat the swelling.
Ankle sprain prevention can be as simple as wearing the right shoes or as complicated as balance training for athletes. Keep the ankles strong and flexible. Consult with the doctor or physical therapist for strengthening exercises.
Wear proper shoes for the activity. Always wear stable shoes that give your ankle proper support. High heels or platform shoes are not the best choice if you’re trying to prevent an ankle sprain.
When participating in a sport, consider having a weak ankle taped to offer extra support. If you have repeated sprains, wearing an ankle brace while playing may help.
Making sure that the playing field (or home environment) is clear of any holes or obstacles also can help avoid injury.
At Medsport, we stock a wide range of Ankle braces and icing options.
The Exoform Ankle Brace is constructed using our patented molding technology to create a “hybrid” between a stirrup and a soft ankle support. The stirrup shaped plastic exo-skeleton conforms intuitively to each patient’s anatomy and is molded directly onto a soft, breathable revolutionary fabric.
Speed lacing hooks provide the option of a quick lace up
Allows for normal plantar and dorsi flexion
Lightweight and low profile design. Highly breathable, quick drying fabric reduces odors
Figure-8 heel lock strap performs consistently, unlike taping that stretches over time
Indications for Use
• Mild to moderate ankle sprains and strains (grade I and II)
• Post cast support
• Chronic ankle instability
• Prophylactic use
Same as speedbarce, local equivalent, quality is not as good as the Speedbrace.
The Bledsoe Wraptor Ankle Stabilizer prevents eversion or inversion by supporting the ankle in a biomechanically neutral position using non-stretch nylon figure-eight straps. The Wraptor is effective protecting the ankle either proactively or in the rehabilitation of acute ankle sprains. Fits both the right and left ankle. Also available with Speed Laces for quick application and removal.
Indications Chronic and acute ankle sprains; abnormal eversion and inversion control; and as protective sportswear.
MEDAC 710: Neoprene Anklet
Contoured design for comfort and mobility.
Provides mild compression to ankle joint.
• Ideal for acute injury.
• Control of swelling and oedema.