Ankle Sprains and other Sports Injuries

One of the most common sports injuries of the lower extremity is an ankle sprain.

An ankle sprain occurs when there is a stretching and tearing of the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint. This usually occurs when the foot roll in (inversion) or out (eversion) causing the ligaments to be damaged.

Sometimes a pop or snap is heard at the time of the injury resulting in pain and swelling and difficulty bearing wearing on the extremity.

Treatment for acute sports injuries involving foot and ankle strain/sprain involves the acronym RICE for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Immediate treatment is needed to reduce the severity of swelling and pain. An ice pack should be applied to the ankle along with ace wrap/elastic bandage for support and compression.

An anti-inflammatory medication like alleve (naprosyn) or motrin (advil) can be prescribed for several weeks to help reduce pain and swelling.

For a severe sprain, weight bearing on the affected limb should be avoided for several days with the use of crutches if needed.

Ice can be applied for 10 to 15 minutes every couple hours as needed to the affected area. The ankle should be wrapped with an ace wrap from the toes to the calf to help reduce swelling and for support.

The involved extremity should be elevated about the level of the heart to help reduce swelling.

If the swelling worsens and weight cannot be placed on the extremity after 72 hours, the patient should seek medical treatment and x-rays of the foot and ankle to rule out a possible fracture.