When the ligaments of the ankle are stretched past their normal capacity a sprain occurs. An ankle sprain is a very common condition, affecting thousands of people every day. A sprain can occur from engaging in physical activities, including playing sports, or from simply stepping at the wrong angle on an uneven surface. Frequently, the act of spraining the ankle is referred to as “rolling” the ankle. Sufferers of ankle sprains report symptoms of pain, swelling and bruising. The severity of a sprain is categorized by grade:
Grade 1 sprain: complete rupture of the fibers in the muscle or tendon
Grade 2 sprain: partial tearing of the ligament, abnormal looseness is observed in the ankle joint
Grade 3 sprain: complete tear of the ligament, instability is observed
The rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) method is an initial treatment for grade 1 and grade 2 ankle sprains. Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine may also suggest the use of a brace to immobilize the ankle, reduce pain and aid in the healing process.
Depending on the nature of the injury and how healing progresses, physical therapy may be prescribed. For ankle sprains, surgery is rarely needed, and physical therapy rehabilitation is often offered as an alternative treatment to strengthen the ankle. The use of physical therapy lowers the likelihood of chronic ankle problems.