A sprained ankle is an injury that occurs when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in an awkward position. This can stretch or tear the bands of ligament that help hold your ankle bones together. It is something that can affect more or less anyone at any age. More often than not, it’s simply a matter of landing on your foot funny and having some temporary pain, but sometimes the injury can be more substantial and the pain can last longer. Given the fact that our ankles are used in almost all of our daily activities, this can be quite an inconvenience. Properly caring for a sprained ankle can help reduce pain, recovery time, and the chance of further complications down the line.
The first thing you should do is identify which of the two types of sprains you have sustained. An inversion sprain is where you twist your foot in such a way that you land on the baby toe. This usually leads to pain in the outside part of the foot, as well as to the lateral ankle ligaments. 90% of ankle sprains are inverted.
The other type of sprain is known as an eversion sprain, which is when the foot lands in such a way that all your weight is placed on the inner side of the foot, which can damage up to three separate ligaments. Eversion sprains are far less common than inversion sprains, and only comprise of about 10% of total ankle sprains.
Sprained ankles can be classified as either grade one, two, or three. The grade is decided by looking at how many ligaments have been injured in the sprain. Grade one is the least serious degree of injury and is the easiest to care for. A patient should approach a grade one sprain with the R.I.C.E. guidelines. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
For a grade two sprain, the care regimen will be more or less the same as it would be for a grade one, although it will take more time. Compression is a much more important factor in a grade two sprain than it is in a grade one, and sometimes your doctor may immobilise the area in some way to ensure that the process goes as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
Grade 3 is the most serious type of ankle sprain, and means you could face permanent ankle problems if the injury is not properly treated. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may have a cast applied and sometimes surgery may be necessary for athletes.
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