1) What are ankle sprains:
Sprains are one of the most commons ankle injuries sustained. An ankle sprain is when the ligaments around your ankle are over-stretched or even torn. Ligaments are strong fibrous tissue that connect bone to bone and keep your ankle in proper position. After a multiple sprains, you may feel your ankle is weak or "gives out" if not healed properly.
There are different grades or severities of ankle sprains and they are commonly underestimated or misdiagnosed. Ankle sprains can occur laterally (outside of your ankle), medially (inside of your ankle) or at the syndesmosis (just above your ankle).
90% of ankle sprains involve the outer ligaments of your ankle with an inversion injury (your foot turns in: a "rolled" ankle).
2) What are the grades / severities of ankle sprains?
There are 3 different grades of ankle sprains:
Mild tenderness. Slight stretching and small (microscopic) tearing of the ligament fibers. Usually no pain with weight bearing. No instability
Moderate tenderness, bruising and swelling. There is partial tearing of the ligament fibers. Mild pain with weight bearing. Mild instability
Significant tenderness, bruising and swelling. There is significant tearing of the ligament fibers. In this case, there is severe pain with weight bearing. Significant instability.
3) What should I do if I sprained my ankle?
You should seek medical advice for all ankle sprains. Foot and Ankle specialist Dr. Perez at Flex foot and Ankle PLLC can help you determine what the next steps are. In an acute setting, you will require x-rays to rule out a fracture. If there is no fracture, your ankle will need to be stabilized and will be placed in either brace or CAM boot. Ligaments can take between 6- 8 weeks to heal depending on severity and should be treated appropriately to not cause further damage which can result in chronic ankle instability.
4) Chronic Ankle sprains and Lateral ankle Instability
If you have suffered multiple ankle sprains in the past and they did not heal properly, you likely suffer from lateral ankle instability. This means that when you are walking or running, you might feel like your ankle wants to give out. This feeling is also common in uneven ground, stairs and hills. Undiagnosed ankle sprains can lead to chronic ankle instability which may require surgery in the future.
At Flex Foot and Ankle PLLC, Dr. Perez will examine your ankle and its stability. The diagnonses is commonly made clinically, however, an MRI might be needed. Conservative treatment is always preferred prior to surgical intervention. However, dependent on the severity and chronicity of the injury, surgery might be required.
5) Ankle sprains in children:
It is important to properly treat ankle sprains in children as their growth plates are still open. The growth plate is a “weak area” of the bone and any injuries in or near the area could impact growth and development of the bone. Active children playing sports suffer from sprains that could be misdiagnosed and result in long term growth complications. Dr. Perez's fellowship training with a renowned pediatrics othropaedic foot and ankle specialist exposed her to significant pediatric trauma to not miss a Salter Harris Fracture (fracture through the growth plate). It is imperative to make the correct diagnoses early to avoid instability in the future.
Red arrows - growth plate
6) How do I fix my unstable ankle?
Dr. Perez will always prefer and exhaust conservative treatments first; which might include: Bracing, CAM boot, Physical Therapy and PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections - read more about PRP at: https://www.flexfootankle.com/post/what-is-platelet-rich-plasma-prp-and-is-it-right-for-me-indications-for-foot-and-ankle-pain)
If there is no improvement with the above, surgical intervention might be needed. Dr. Perez will explain what the procedure entails but you can also read more about it at: https://www.anklesprain.com/arthrex-internalbrace-procedure-for-ankle-sprains
Chronic ankle instability in the news! https://www.anklesprain.com/arthrex-internalbrace-procedure-ankle-sprain-patient-stories-Bethany-M
Lastly, DON'T suffer from ankle instability!
Make an appointment at Flex Foot and Ankle PLLC with Dr. Perez TODAY!
Use zipcode 10018 at https://www.anklesprain.com/find-a-doctor