A Common Injury especially in players and athletes as well as in common households, an ankle sprain is caused by a sudden imbalance leading to bending of the foot excessively inwards leading to tearing of the muscles or ligaments in the ankle Joint causing sudden and severe Pain in the Ankle Joint.
How does it occur?
An Ankle Sprain occurs when your foot accidentally and suddenly is Flexed inwards or in excess of it’s normal range of motion leading to a tear and injury to the internal Muscle fibers and tissues. This causes Intense Pain and Swelling in the Affected area leading to Redness, Pain, Immobility, and Pain on movement. Usually, 1 or more of the ligaments that hold all the bones in the ankle joint together in place and control the range of motion of this joint are torn and injured in this condition.
What can it resemble?
Sometimes a fracture in the joint or nearby bones can be misinterpreted as a Sprained Ankle by people and neglected. So it is best to visit your physician or nearest medical facility to get it checked by a Doctor and make sure it is just a Sprain and not a fracture.
A fracture is a breakage in the bone. Although there is no clear way to differentiate between a Sprain and a minor fracture from the outside appearance without an X ray of the affected area, there are some hints. A fracture causes much more intense and severe Pain, it is practically impossible to bear weight at all on the fractured bone. A person is unable to stand or bear any weight on the fractured bone. The swelling and redness is more and in some cases, there can be a Clearly visible Deformity or Abnormal Positioning of the foot in relation to the ankle. The shape of the place is deformed to put formward in simple language which is a clear indication that it is most probably a fracture.
A fracture need Immediate care from a Physician or an Orthopedician.
What to do in case of a Sprain?
First and foremost, do not move the Joint and do the following steps in order. In most cases, this Primary care can be done at home followed by a consultation from a General Physician or an orthopaedician.
- Apply Ice Packs or slowly drop Drop by Drop Ice Water on the Sprained Ankle. This step helps reduce the development of excessive inflammation at the Site of injury by constricting the blood vessels and reducing excess blood flow to the Injured Site. This is helpful in the initial few hours after injury.
- Rest and Immobility: As Advised above, do not move the sprained ankle. Keep it immobile till you reach your doctor. Movement increases chances of further injury in addition to the Pain. The best method to immobilize a Joint is by using a brace. Or you can also apply a Crepe bandage or an elastic bandage to Immobilise it.
- Elevation: Elevation of the affected joint to a slightly higher level can also help with reducing the effects of inflammation.
- Medications: Pain Killers of the NSAIDS category like Diclofenac, Ibuprofen and some others along with paracetamol are given to reduce the Pain as well as Inflammation at the site of injury.
- Doctor’s Consultation: Finally the most important next step is to go see your doctor and get it confirmed as to if it is a Sprain or a fracture in our ankle and get appropriate management. A Sprain would most likely be handled with the above-mentioned approaches only.
What Not to do?
- After a few days based on doctor’s advice, hot fomentation or other heat-based therapies may be given but they are not advised in the first few days of injury.
- Never go for direct Stretching and Massage therapy from a Quack. this is the most common mistake many do which most of the times further worsens the injury or misplaces the bones and causes chances or speed of reunion in case of a fracture worse off. Do not do this.
Although, Bringing the foot back to it’s Normal Position by stretching in case of a severe deformation + fracture by a trained person is otherwise good as it will ease the task of your Physician or doctor to apply a Cast.
Following these steps, you should be able to handle and take care of this Common injury very well.
Hope this small Article increased your knowledge and info on the condition and guided you well.
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Dr. Rohit Sharma
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