Ankle Sprains

Ankle Sprains are common injuries!

Ankle sprains can occur during light or intense activities. These include running, walking, working out or simply stepping off of a curb.Ankle Sprains

Most ankle sprains are minor. They heal on their own with rest, ice, compression and elevation.  Anti-inflammatory medications may also be helpful.  These more minor ankle injuries occur when the ligaments, tendons and soft tissues around the joint are over-stretched and strained.  However, when there is more damage to these ankle structures they may tear partially or completely and result in an ankle sprain. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential if you would like to return to activities quickly while feeling stable.  This can be accomplished by seeing your podiatrist and coming up with an effective treatment course for your ankle sprain.

General Anatomy of the Ankle

The ankle is made up of the talus which is in the foot.  The talus sits within the tibia and fibula bones of the lower leg.  The talus has a dome that makes up the mortise and on the sides of the mortise, the tibia and fibula make up the gutters. The soft tissue around the ankle is called the capsule and within the actual joint is the synovium.  These tissues protect and supply the ankle joint with blood supply, nutrients and lubrication for the joint cartilage.  All of these ankle bones are held together by strong structures known as ligaments.  An ankle sprain results in damage and tearing of these supportive ligaments.

Ankle sprains and injuries usually occur during activities while putting pressure on the foot and ankle.  When the ankle injury occurs as the foot turns outward, this is known as a supination injury.  This occurs on the little toe side of the foot also known as the lateral foot and ankle. This rolling motion leads commonly to tear of the anterior talo-fibular ligament.  When the injury occurs with the foot and ankle rolling inward, this results in pronation on the big toe or medial side of the foot and ankle.  This cause an ankle sprain usually tearing the deltoid ligament.  These ankle sprain injuries may occur from ankle weakness or stepping on an uneven area or even on another person’s foot.

Diagnosis

When you see your podiatrist, you will be asked if you felt a pop and if you rolled inward or outward to help determine how the ankle sprain occurred and to assess which ligaments are likely damaged. In addition, there will be questions to determine if you have had ankle sprains in the past of if this is your first time.  These and other questions will help determine the extent of injury and the best treatments for your ankle sprain.

The foot and ankle exam will check for swelling, bruising, blistering and points of tenderness.  A general circulation exam will also be performed. Your motion will be examined to see if there is a decrease in motion or if instability occurs one either side of the ankle.  This will help determine how much damage and instability has occurred with your ankle sprain.  Fractures and joint instability are best confirmed by a simple x-ray performed in the office.

X-rays will clearly identify fractures and damage to the inside of the joint in some cases.  If there is clearly an uneven appearance of the talus bone sitting into the leg bones then this likely represents a significant ligament tear.  This can be confirmed with special x-ray techniques known as stress views.

When more information is required to better understand the severity of your ankle sprain, a CT scan or MRI can be extremely helpful.  These tests help your podiatrist visualize all of the structures to evaluate if they have been damaged and to what degree.  This can help determine the best treatment for your ankle sprain.

Treatment

Ankle sprain treatment typically involved immobilization and a supportive healing device chosen by your doctor.  Ice and anti-inflammatory medicines can also be helpful. Physical therapy may be used to heal and strengthen the injury site.  At Advanced Podiatry in Tampa, we use sophisticated regenerative medicine treatment to heal and strengthen the area for the best long-term results.  Regenerative medicine treatments can help you avoid steroids and surgery while allowing you to return to your activities more quickly than traditional treatments. In addition, we will place you in a custom orthotic device to allow you to have long-term stability when performing your activities in the future.  We can also incorporate special medicated patches into your treatment to help with pain and swelling while decreasing the need for pills that may have more side-effects.

To return to your activities we will help you slowly regain strength and stability and will often use an ankle device that allows you to continue activities in your regular shoes to prevent further injury.

In some cases surgery may be required.  We offer minimally-invasive ankle arthroscopy procedures to allow you to have the fastest healing with the best outcome. A small viewing scope can be placed into your ankle and many repairs can be accomplished without major surgery.

Depending on the severity of your ankle sprain, you can be back to normal activity in 2-6 weeks on average.  With our advanced treatment options, you will get back quicker with a more long lasting result in most cases.

Conclusion

Treating an ankle sprain early is very important if you would like to avoid excessive injury and desire a faster return to activity.  At Advanced Podiatry in Tampa, we treat your injury and take steps to make sure that you can avoid further injuries.  With each injury, more damage occurs and that can lead to slower healing and inability to return to your desired activities.

We recommend that you don’t ignore pain and weakness as these may be the early warnings of an injury.  Call Advanced Podiatry today and we will help you avoid an injury or treat your current injury with the best results.  Call 813-875-0555 in Tampa.

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