The ligaments surrounding the ankle are surprisingly fragile. What can be a seemingly harmless motion has the potential to cause serious ankle sprains. Ankle ligaments are elastic structures that hold the ankle joint together to prevent (or minimize) excessive twisting and turning that can lead to injury. These ligaments are able to stretch slightly to accommodate normal movements, but as with everything, they have an inherent limit. When they are stretched beyond their natural limits, the result is a painful sprain.
You probably know the feeling…
Anyone can suffer from ankle sprains, whether you are a trained athletes or a regular Joe. Here are a few actions that can lead to ankle sprains:
■ Running, particularly if you plant your foot at an awkward angle
■ Walking on uneven surfaces
■ Missing a step while climbing stairs
You can even sprain your ankle just from stepping out of bed, if you happen to step down on something that twists your ankle at an unnatural angle. In fact, 25,000 U.S. citizens sprain their ankles every day, both from athletic activities and day-to-day missteps.
When you sprain your ankle, here’s what you can expect to happen:
Blood rushes into the injured area, causing inflammation. The ankle swells up, causing increased sensitivity of the nerves, leading to pain. Attempting to move the ankle, standing or walking on it can be extremely painful. The injured ankle might also become red and overly warm because of the increased blood flow.
Typically, ankle sprains are minor enough to heal by itself by the next day. However, if the ankle gets swollen and standing or walking on it becomes unbearable, a fracture needs to be ruled out. So be sure to go to the hospital and seek an X-ray or consult your physician at the very least.
Provided by Advance Physical & Aquatic Therapy