We’ve all been there at some point in our lives — felt our foot suddenly twist or roll into an awkward position. However, there are times this movement can cause damage to ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, and cartilage in the ankle.
Dr. Jared Tadje treats sports injuries at Tadje Orthopaedics in Meridian, Idaho. He shared these five signs of an ankle sprain and why to seek medical attention for this common injury.
1. Pain or tenderness
One of the most obvious signs of any injury involves pain. When it involves an ankle sprain, it often affects the area of the ankle with damage. For example, if you sprain your deltoid ligament, the inside of your ankle will hurt. It’s also common to experience pain when trying to put weight on the affected foot or touch the injury.
This discomfort often feels sudden and sharp and worsens when bearing weight. It can also vary in intensity depending on the extent of tissue damage.
2. Swelling or bruising
Sprained ankles occur when you damage the strong ligaments supporting your ankle joint. In many cases, this causes the ankle to swell and even bruise almost immediately. As with pain and tenderness from a sprain, you can usually expect swelling or discoloration in the area with ligament damage.
It’s also safe to assume that more swelling and pain indicates a more severe injury.
3. Limited range of motion
Most ankle sprains are due to your foot turning too far inward. This unnatural motion causes the ligaments on the outside of your ankle to become overstretched or tear.
In severe ankle sprains, it’s possible to damage ligaments so badly, you’re unable to bend, flex, or turn your foot. These types of injuries can also make any type of weight-bearing activity, like walking, difficult or even impossible.
In ankle sprains with severe ligament damage, it’s also possible to experience instability or a wobbly feeling in the ankle. That’s because ligaments in your ankles help provide joint stability, which prevents too much movement.
When stretched or torn, the ligaments can no longer provide proper joint stabilization.
5. A popping sound or sensation
If you heard or felt a pop when you injured your ankle, you likely sprained or tore a ligament.
In severe ankle sprains, it’s also common to experience pain so sudden and severe you have to stop whatever you’re doing immediately.
Treating a sprained ankle
Unfortunately, spraining your ankle once increases your chance of re-injury in the future, especially if you experienced severe damage to the tendon. Even if your injury seems minor, contact Dr. Tadje to determine the best strategy for recovering and preventing reinjury.
After determining the severity of your ankle sprain, Dr. Tadje could recommend a variety of treatments:
- The RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen
- Regenerative treatments, like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
- Physical therapy
For severe ankle sprains that don’t heal or remain unstable, Dr. Tadje could also recommend arthroscopic surgery to repair or reconstruct the ligament.
Regardless of what treatment you need, Dr. Tadje also ensures you take proper steps when returning to your active lifestyle so you can avoid re-injury in the future.
Did you sprain your ankle? Get expert care for your injury by calling 208-231-7851 or booking an appointment online today.