It was just a normal afternoon in the gym during a pickup game. The score was tied, game point. Nate goes up for the dunk and it goes in! When he comes back down to land, something didn’t feel right. His ankle was hurting really bad and was starting to swell. He couldn’t even walk on it. Nate sprained his ankle.
Most ankle sprains happen when you make a rapid shifting movement with your foot planted, such as when you play soccer or get tackled in football. Often the ankle rolls outward and the foot turns inward. This causes the ligaments on the outside of the ankle to stretch and tear. Less often, the ankle rolls inward and the foot turns outward. This damages the ligaments on the inside of the ankle. An ankle sprain can range from mild to severe, depending on how badly the ligament is damaged and how many ligaments are injured. With a mild sprain, the ankle may be tender, swollen, and stiff. But it usually feels stable, and you can walk with little pain. A more serious sprain might include bruising and tenderness around the ankle, and walking is painful. In a severe ankle sprain, the ankle is unstable and may feel "wobbly." You can't walk, because the ankle gives out and may be very painful.
With most sprains, you feel pain right away at the site of the tear. Often the ankle starts to swell immediately and may bruise. The ankle area is usually tender to touch, and it hurts to move it. In more severe sprains, you may hear and/or feel something tear, along with a pop or snap. You will probably have extreme pain at first and will not be able to walk or even put weight on your foot. Usually, the more pain and swelling you have, the more severe your ankle sprain is and the longer it will take to heal.
Preventing this injury is not that hard. According to emedicinehealth.com wearing the proper shoes, keeping the ankles strong and flexible, consider wearing ankle tape or an ankle brace, and making sure playing field or home environment is clear of any obstacles that could lead to injury. Healthscout.com says to maintain a regular exercise program, wearing stable shoes, stretching calf muscles before and after exercise, and maintain a healthy diet to prevent injury. But sometimes all these measures do not work and you will have an ankle injury and there are risks of reinjuring. How can we minimize recurring injuries? Brandon Hemphill, James D. Whitworth, and Rita F. Smith say that using external support during physical activity significantly reduces the likelihood of spraining your ankle. A study done by University of Georgia suggests that the different ways people move their hip and knee joints may influence the risk of re-injury. "If you have ankle sprains, you may have a problem with the way you move, and we think we can change movement through rehabilitation," said Cathleen Brown, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the department of kinesiology in the College of Education. Past studies on ankle sprains have shown that some people are able to return to sports or physical activities without a problem. Brown and her team, which includes associate professor Kathy J. Simpson, also in the kinesiology department, want to know why some recover completely. "One theory for explaining those divergent paths is that a person comes up with good strategies to move, land, balance and not get re-injured," Brown said. "Maybe the injured people don't use the same landing strategies, or their strategies aren't as effective," Brown said, adding that the study was a snapshot in time, not a long-term follow-up. By the time subjects were included in the research study, they have usually already injured themselves. "We don't know if they are this way because of the injury, or if they got this injury because they land this way."
There are two different initial treatments for an ankle sprain. One is RICE, consisting of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The other is PRINCE, consisting of...