December 9, 2021 – 5:00 p.m.
Winter sports are here, and whether it’s on the basketball court, the slopes or the ice rink, ankle sprains can happen. A sprained ankle is the most common sports-related injury, accounting for 40% of all sports injuries. The good news is that most recoveries can get you back in the game in six to eight weeks.
We put a strain on our ankles during athletics. When we run, our ankles support up to five times our body weight. Much of our stability is maintained by the bone architecture, in addition to the ligaments and tendons that help control our ankle. There are two ligaments that mainly stabilize our ankles, and when you sprain your ankle, you have injured at least one of those ligaments.
Usually, immediate pain results and you may even hear or feel a âpopâ. The ankle can swell and sometimes bruise. If you are able to get rid of it, you usually don’t need an x-ray. If you cannot walk on it, or if you experience severe pain in the bony parts of the ankle, see your doctor, as an x-ray may be needed to make sure it is a sprain and not a sprain. fracture.
The initial treatment for a sprained ankle includes rest, ice, compression and elevation, or “RICE.” Immobilization with a splint, boot, secure tape, or wrap should be used for the first three weeks. Immobilization is important to ensure healing of the ligaments in the correct position. A sprain can be just a slight stretch of the ligament, but it can also be a tear.
Ankle sprains are classified I-III; a stretch, a partial tear and a full tear, respectively. The initial treatment for all three injuries is the same: RICE, followed by a brace for three weeks. After three weeks, if you feel ready to resume exercise, you usually can (typical for a Grade I sprain).
If you still have apprehension or pain, physical therapy is recommended to “retrain” the ankle. When a ligament is torn, the nerves that supply the ligament are also injured, which contributes to apprehension. The therapy will focus on balance and proprioception (an awareness of where your foot is in space). Once you regain your proprioception, your therapist or trainer will work on a range of motion, strength and return to activity.
If your ankle does not recover after this treatment, an orthopedic surgeon will check the stability of your ankle to assess the length of the ligaments. Sometimes the ligaments heal when they are stretched or stretched.
Some patients may be treated with a corset or continuous bandage, other patients may require surgery to resume exercise. While recovery may take some time, most athletes (professional and recreational) can resume sport within six months of surgery.
â¨Dr. Paul Ryan is a Tahoe Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Certified Orthopedic Surgeon. He is a foot and ankle specialist and treats patients in Carson City, Zephyr Cove, and the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness in South Lake Tahoe, California. Dr. Ryan will host a free wellness webinar on Thursday, December 9 at 5:00 p.m. Register in advance or watch previously recorded webinars at BartonHealth.org/Read. To learn more about foot and ankle services, call 530.543.5554 or visit BartonOrthopedicsAndWellness.com.