Sprained Ankle? The 5 Things You Need To Know

If a sprained ankle has happened to you, you’re not alone. Ankle sprains don’t just happen to famous athletes playing high-impact sports. You can injure your ankle simply by walking or jogging on an uneven surface, such as a bumpy road.  

1. What Happens When You Sprain Your Ankle?  

A sudden twist or unexpected blow to the ankle can push the ankle joint out of its normal position, causing a sprain. And if you hear a loud “pop” when the injury occurs? That’s the tearing of the elastic ligaments that support the ankle. 

Typically, a sprained ankle can heal in four to six weeks.

2. What Are the Symptoms Of a Twisted Ankle? 

A sprained ankle can cause the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Soreness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty walking
  • Ankle joint stiffness

3. How Is an Ankle Injury Diagnosed?

5 Things Need to Know Sprained Ankle small

Doctors can diagnose an ankle sprain using one or more of the following techniques:

  • Mobility test. Your doctor will move your ankle in various directions in order to determine which ligament is damaged.
  • Visual Assessment. In most cases, the more swollen, painful, and bruised an ankle is, the more severe the injury is.
  • X-rays. An X-ray is not needed to diagnose an ankle sprain, but may be ordered to rule out a potential fracture.

4. How Is a Sprained Ankle Treated?

Treating a sprain? Remember the acronym RICE:

  1. Rest your ankle by not walking on it.
  2. Ice should be applied immediately to reduce swelling.
  3. Compression dressings can help to immobilize and support the injured ankle.
  4. Elevate your ankle above your heart level as much as possible, especially for the first 48 hours.

Typically, a sprained ankle can heal in four to six weeks. Your doctor might recommend a cast boot, air splint and/or crutches to immobilize your ankle while it heals.

5. What If My Ankle Sprain Is More Serious?

If your doctor determines that an ankle injury is especially severe, treatment might include the following:

  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Medication. In extreme cases, prescription pain medication may be needed to provide adequate relief from a sprained ankle.  
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