A Sprained Ankle – Causes, Symptoms, Types, Grades and Treatments
A sprained ankle is a common injury that can happen to anyone. And, sprained ankles are VERY common. Recent statistics say that there are up to 25,000 ankle sprains a day and they are the #1 sports related injury. We are going to cover the main causes, symptoms, types, grades and treatment options to help you recover fully and fast.
What Causes A Sprained Ankle?
An ankle sprain usually happens when you twist your foot and the ligaments on the outside of your ankle get stretched too far. This causes a sprain, or a stretching or a torn ligament.
An ankle sprain occurs, because most people have chronically weak and unstable ankles. In order to prevent ankle sprains, your ankles must be able to withstand the force placed upon the ligaments even if they are stretched too far. Sometimes, that is possible, but sometimes, the force is too great and you will sustain an ankle sprain, that will normally include pain and swelling, (sometimes significant swelling and severe pain), and damage to the ligament fibers.
If you wear shoes that are unnatural or weaken and/or tighten the ankle joint, calves, etc, that will increase your risk of sprains. If you don’t maintain good muscle strength, you risk goes up. Basically, most people run a pretty high risk for an ankle sprain, no matter what you do…
Ankle sprains are also a very common sports injury, because your are forced to move quickly and with power, and all it takes is a mis-step or accidentally stepping on something uneven or someone else’s foot to have an ankle injury.
Types of Sprained Ankle
There are a few different sprained ankle types… An ankle sprain is defined as a stretch or tear of a ligament, which are strong bands of tissue that connect one bone to another. Ankle sprains can also happen when you land awkwardly from jumping or from stepping on something uneven.
The most common type of sprained ankle is the inversion sprain, which happens when the foot turns outward and the ankle rolls inwards. A less common type is a high ankle sprain, which happens when the foot turns inward and the shinbone twists to one side.
Symptoms of a Sprained Ankle
Symptoms of a sprained ankle include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking. A person with a sprained ankle should seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent further injury or worsening of symptoms. The first thing you want to do is get an x-ray to rule out a fracture.
If you have no broken bone, then it is very important that you immobilize your ankle until the ankle heals. Most of the time, you will not know if you have a bone fracture unless you get an x-ray, so it’s important to get it done, just to make sure…
Fortunately, ankle fractures are more rare and if you do NOT have one, the sooner you can start a good ankle rehab program, the better. The good news is that whether you have a new or old sprained ankle, it will respond very well to a good rehab program.
The severity of a sprained ankle can vary from person to person, but it’s typically classified as either “mild” or “moderate”. A mild sprain is characterized by some bruising and swelling, while a moderate sprain will have more severe swelling and bruising.
Grades of Sprained Ankle
A sprained ankle can be classified as a grade 1, 2, or 3 injury. Most ankle sprains are categorized as a grade 1 ankle sprain, which is mild and involves stretching or tearing of one or two ligaments. A grade 2 ankle sprain involves a partial tear in three to four ligaments and a grade 3 ankle sprain is characterized by complete tear in more than four ligaments. The severity of the injury determines how long it will take for the ankle to heal.
The severity of your sprained ankle will depend on how much and what type of damage has been done to the ligament. Most importantly, how you treat your ankle will determine how quickly and how well you heal. A good ankle treatment should reduce pain and swelling quickly, strengthen the ankle joint, improve healthy and natural range of motion and prevent future ankle sprains. If you do not heal a sprained ankle properly, the ankle ligaments will stay weak and immobile, and you could have chronic ankle sprains, severe pain that could linger for a long time, more severe ankle sprains in the future (including a complete ligament tear), and a chronically weak ankle joint.
If you have a mild injury and if you use a great ankle rehab program (like HEM Ankle Rehab) or go see an excellent physical therapist, you will probably have trouble walking, but it should only take about 3-5 days for the swelling and pain to go away completely and for you to regain full range of motion in your ankle. However, without a good ankle rehab program, it normally takes about 6 weeks for a mild sprain and you could have chronic ankle pain.
For moderate sprains, you will have trouble to just bear weight on your ankle. Their will be significant damage to the ankle ligaments, but if you use a good ankle rehab program, it usually takes about 5-10 days to heal your ankle. But, if you just rely on rest and ice, it can take up to 3 months for swelling and pain to go away completely and sometimes longer.
For severe sprains, you will not be able to bear weight ion that ankle at all. The damage to the ligaments will be very severe.
f you use a great ankle rehab program, it usually takes about 10-15 days to heal your ankle. But with out the rehab program, it can take up to 6 months or longer for swelling and pain to go away completely but may need surgery if there is structural damage that cannot heal on its own.
In many cases, people with severe sprains end up having long term damage that affects them for life. This makes it even more important that you do an ankle rehab program to properly heal your ankle and ensure it has excellent strength, stability and healthy range of motion.
Treatment for a Sprained Ankle
The standard protocol for a sprained ankle is called R.I.C.E. – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. here are the main steps:
Apply an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel to reduce swelling
Elevate your leg above your heart level while resting
Use an elastic bandage or wrap to support the ankle
The problems with rest and ice are numerous. We have written many articles on why rest and ice are not the best options, but the main point is that your ankle cannot heal by itself. People who choose to just wait out end up with very weak ankles, chronic ankle instability, no strength, stability or healthy range of motion.
And that means they have a poor ability to recruit their calves and ankles for movement, bad balance, HIGH risk of re-injury, etc… We have written another whole article on the lifelong consequences of a badly healed sprained ankle.
Another option that is much better than rest and ice is to go see an excellent physical therapist. They should be able to help analyze your injury and give you a good rehab program to fully heal your injury. It should include proper treatment of the affected foot during the initial injury phase (stretching exercises, healing techniques and more to help you regain natural ankle strength, balance and help prevent future sprains).
The only real drawback to a physical therapy is the fact that it takes a lot of time and can be very expensive, (hundreds to potentially thousands of dollars).
HEM Ankle Rehab
HEM Ankle Rehab is a complete ankle healing system that works for any new or old ankle sprain as well as all other types of ankle, foot and calf injuries. We designed HEM to ensure it is safe and easy to do for people of all ages and activity levels.
HEM ensures you will be able to move pain free while also significantly reducing the risk of future injury fully & fast. It works for all grades and types of ankle sprain, including a severe sprain (grade 2-3), a chronic ankle sprain, weak ankles, inversion sprains, high ankle sprains, etc…
We guarantee you will see excellent results for any ankle sprain or just send us an email within 30 days to receive a full refund.
You can do HEM at home, without any equipment and it only takes a few minutes a day. Just follow along with the easy step by step videos or ebook (you get both) on any device.