10 most common orthopaedic injuries: ankle sprain
In this series, we're looking at the 10 most common orthopaedic injuries, which are: Ankle sprain, Plantar fasciitis, Tennis elbow, ACL injury, Meniscus tear, Shoulder dislocation, Rotator cuff tear, stress fractures, carpal tunnel syndrome, and distal radius fracture (also known as a wrist fracture).
Today, we'll focus on the first injury on our list... ankle sprains. Spraining your ankle usually occurs when you overstretch or injure the ligaments that support the ankle. The ligaments on the outside of the ankle are most commonly injured when the foot is turned inward... usually when making an awkward step. Symptoms include a tender and swollen ankle. You'll most likely have trouble moving your ankle, putting weight on your foot, and walking.
How do you treat an ankle sprain? We recommend the RICE method. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. (Rest: stop further activity and keep the injured area in a relaxed and horizontal position. Ice: apply ice to the injured area to prevent or slow swelling. Compression: apply pressure and wrap the injured area. Elevation: raise the injured area to minimize swelling.)
Depending on how bad the sprain is, you may need to begin rehabilitation a few days after the injury, when the swelling has gone down. The goals of this rehabilitation are to restore motion and flexibility, and to restore strength and balance.
Generally, you can return to sports after you have full range of motion in all directions, good strength in the muscles all around the ankle, good balance, and no pain or swelling with exercise or activity.