By Dr. Reza Mobarak, Southwest Foot & Ankle Clinic
Ankle injuries are very common. Especially in the cold weather when ice starts to come into effect. It is one of the most common lower extremity injuries today. Every day, approximately 25,000 people in the U.S. undergo an ankle sprain. They can occur in athletes as well as individuals who live normal lifestyles. It doesn’t matter whether you are involved in a sports activity or just walking around. You can sustain an ankle sprain.
A sprain is an injury to the ligaments around the ankle joint. The ligaments are like tendon, except they are elastic, band-like structures that keep the bones of the ankle joint together. Together, they prevent excessive turning and twisting of the joint. A sprain can result when the ligaments of the ankle have been stretched. In severe ankle sprains, the ligaments can be partially torn or even fully ruptured.
To diagnose an ankle sprain, you physician may order different tests or even perform some tests at that time to determine the severity of the ankle sprain. This can be from a simple evaluation in the office to ordering an MRI of the ankle joint to evaluate the status of the ligaments.
Signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain are excessive. The main sign is tissue injury and inflammation of the ankle joint. The blood vessels flood the soft tissues causing swelling to increase. The major signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain are: swelling, pain and redness and warmth. The swelling is due to increased fluid to the soft tissue. The pain is due to the sensitive nerves in the ankle joint. This can occur when the sore area is compressed or the foot/ankle moves in a certain direction. Redness and warmth is caused by increased blood flow to the area of trauma.
Ankle sprains have many treatments. These treatments help to reduce pain and aid in healing. The goal is to reduce and prevent inflammation. R.I.C.E. is the system that is used for this. R is for Rest – to prevent further injury to the injured tissue. I is for Ice – this will help decrease pain. This will help in reducing the swelling. C is for compression – this will provide support and help in inflammation. E is for elevation – which will keep the injured area in low fluid retention. Other treatments for severe ankle sprains include oral anti-inflammatories, use of crutches to remain non weight bearing, custom orthotics, ankle brace, and surgical intervention to repair the severely ruptured ligaments.
A very effective treatment that Southwest Foot and Ankle Center have been performing is the use of platelet rich plasma (PRP). This is a growth factor that is from the patient’s own body with the use of thrombin. The thick platelets are then injected back into the area of pain, which in turn reduces pain, swelling, and promotes healing to the damaged tissue. With the use of PRP and aggressive physical therapy, the patient is almost in full activity in approximately 10 days.
Ankle sprains can be prevented. These are simple things such as wearing appropriate shoe gear, wearing an ankle brace, and increasing flexibility to strengthen the previous injured ligaments.
Above is a picture of an anatomical view of a classic ankle sprain where the lateral ligaments have been ruptured.
Ankle sprains are very common. But they are preventable. We treat ankle sprains on a daily basis and have great success with our treatments. If you have any questions, call our office for a consultation.
Dr. Reza Mobarak heads the Southwest Foot and Ankle Center with offices in Plano and Lewisville and may be reached at 972-316-0902. www.swfacenter.com/