What is sprain?
A torn or stretched ligament is known as sprain. The main function of the ligament is to connect two bones on a joint and prevent the bones from moving out of their place. Because sprain is usually caused by heavy force to the ligaments due to sudden twisting or changing of direction, the normal sites of this injury involve the ankles. For instance, when you had a hard fall, the joints forced out of its position, or you had twisted your ankles too far from its normal rotation, it can tear or stretch the ligaments. This is why sprains are normally suffered by athletes during sports-related activities.
Common Signs of Ankle Sprain
- Swelling or bruising
- Tenderness, stiffness and pain
- Numbness or coldness of the affected foot
- Inability to run or walk because of pain in the joints
Take note, though, that the severity of these symptoms depends on how bad the ligaments have been stretched or torn. If the sprain, for instance, did not cause too much damage to the ligaments, then the swelling or pain may only be mild. But if there are one or more torn ligaments, the sprain can be very painful and swollen.
Recommended Treatment for Sprain
Doctors recommend the R. I. C. E. approach (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) as the main treatment for sprain.
- Rest – Resting the affected ankle is important to reduce pain on the weight bearing joints and ligaments. Rest depends, though, on how bad the sprain is.
- Ice – Application of ice pack on the sprained ankle can help reduce swelling and bruising.
- Compression – Ice application is also combined with compression (wrapping of the ankles) to avoid inflammation.
- Elevation – The idea behind elevating the affected ankle above heart level is to keep circulation on the ankles to prevent the swelling from getting severe.
How Could You Prevent Ankle Sprains?
- Balance and Flexibility Training – lack of elasticity and movements on the torso, legs, hips and foot can increase the likelihood of sprains. Also, improving your balance and coordination is necessary to gain control over the body during movements.
- Strengthening of the ankles – Exercises that focus on ankle strengthening can improve muscle and ankle functioning.
Finally, make proper preparations before an activity. Immediate changes in the body’s normal movement can make you prone to injury. Activities like warming up and conditioning the muscles are some important preparations you can do.
Related Video on Ankle Sprains:[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDFbZFNtPfs” width=”220″]
“Tips for Preventing Foot and Ankle Injuries.” USF Medical Center. Retrieved online on August 15, 2014 from http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/tips_for_preventing_foot_and_ankle_injuries/
“5 Ways to Reduce Your Chance of an Ankle Sprain.” Athletico Physical Therapy. Retrieved online on August 15, 2014 from http://www.athletico.com/2011/11/15/5-ways-to-reduce-your-chance-of-an-ankle-sprain/