man holding ankle while outdoors

All About Sprained Ankles

Categories: General Orthopedics

Sprained ankles are one of the most unpleasant sports injuries. Athletes rightfully fear them, as they can take them off their feet for a considerable amount of time. Sprained ankles vary in severity and recovery time, and many patients often have a lot of questions about them.

Basically, sprained ankles come from rolling, twisting or turning your ankle in an awkward or unnatural way.  This can stretch or tear the ligaments that hold your ankle bones together. Obviously, this is often very painful. No matter how severe they may be, it’s always best to fully understand your sports injury. In this post, we’ll break down and discuss all of the basic information surrounding ankle sprains. In this case, this includes symptoms, causes, recovery time, treatment and prevention options.


1. Sprained Ankle Symptoms

Without a doubt, it’s difficult to not realize your ankle is sprained. Most people who sprain their ankles know that something is amiss right away. However, like strain injuries, the symptoms do vary based on the severity of the sprain. A sprained ankle may include:

  • Pain, especially when you put weight on your foot
  • Ankle is tender and sensitive to the touch
  • Limited range of motion
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Ankle instability
  • Redness and warmth
  • “Pop” sound or sensation at the time of injury


2. Causes of Ankle Sprains

An ankle sprain occurs from rolling, twisting or turning your ankle in an awkward or unnatural way. Basically, when you force your ankle into a position it doesn’t want to go in, you have a sprain. As a result, your ligaments are torn. The causes of a sprained ankle are usually:

  • Walking or running across an uneven surface
  • Somebody steps or lands on your feet (common during certain sports)
  • Twisting an ankle during a fall
  • Jumping or pivoting then landing with difficulty
  • Shoes that are too large or small, or very high heels


3. Recovery Time

Like many of the factors of an ankle sprain, the recovery time depends on the severity of the injury. For the most part, an ankle sprain heals relatively quickly and needs only ice and elevation for a speedy recovery. Usually, mild sprains feel better in a few days to a week. In addition, they’re usually healed within six weeks.

However, the more severe sprains can take weeks or even months to fully heal. Unfortunately, very severe cases usually include excruciating pain and require crutches. It could take weeks or months to return to a regular routine or activities.

4. Treatment Options

Usually, ice and elevation are the only necessary treatment for ankle sprains. Self-care and relaxation are natural remedies that often do the trick. However, the more severe cases require crutches and increased rest. As soon as you sprain your ankle, be sure to apply ice and elevate the injury.

5. When to See a Doctor

Usually, medical intervention is not necessary. Very often, you can care for ankle sprain injuries at home. However, you should see a Long Island orthopedist if:

  • The pain is unbearable, even after applying ice and resting
  • You can’t walk
  • Your injury hasn’t improved after a week

Your doctor will consider the severity of the ankle sprain in order to diagnose and develop an effective treatment plan.

6. Prevention

There are a few effective ways to prevent sprained ankles altogether. To avoid ankle sprains, you can:

  • Fortify your ankles with specific exercises
  • Avoid high-heeled shoes and be sure to wear the right size
  • Tape weak ankles and wear braces during active endeavors
  • Always stretch or warm up before sports
  • Avoid uneven surfaces


Central Orthopedic Group

As Long Island’s leading sports medicine specialists, ankle sprains aren’t unfamiliar to us in any capacity. If you have an ankle sprain and are looking for treatment options, make an appointment with us today! We’ll get you back on your feet in no time.