An ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments in the ankle. This type of injury occurs when the ligaments are stretched beyond their limit and tear, which usually happens when the ankle rolls or gets twisted or turned in an awkward way.
Most ankle sprains respond well to R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) therapy. The severe ones, however, require proper immobilization or even surgery.
The challenge is not so much to treat an ankle sprain but to accurately diagnose and determine its severity. It’s worth noting that sprains and strains have overlapping symptoms. Your safest course of action is to see a foot doctor, who can thoroughly examine your injury, make an accurate diagnosis, and ensure it is healing correctly. Also, when you leave a sprained ankle to heal on its own, the torn ligaments can form weak and inflexible scar tissue, resulting in chronic pain and instability.
How Ankle Sprains Are Diagnosed
Your foot doctor will diagnose your ankle sprain by doing a physical assessment and ordering a medical imaging exam. Your doctor will check for signs of swelling and bruising and palpate the area. They will then move your foot to check its range of motion and which specific positions can cause pain. Your doctor will also check if you have balance issues.
X-ray is the most commonly used medical imaging technique for orthopedic injuries, but your foot doctor may also order MRI, ultrasound, or CT scan if your sprain is severe. The results will help your doctor determine the precise location of the sprain and rule out other types of injury, such as fracture, dislocation, or cartilage and tendon injury.
Ankle Sprain Grading
Ankle sprains are graded according to severity, as outlined below:
Grade 1- This means the ligaments are slightly stretched and have microscopic tears. Symptoms, such as pain, swelling, tenderness, and bruising are not severe. You should be able to stand or walk without restrictions.
Recovery from a grade 1 ankle sprain can take a few weeks.
Grade 2– This indicates partial tearing of the ligaments. Moderate pain, swelling, tenderness, bruising, limited range of motion, and instability are the usual symptoms of a grade 2 tear. When standing or walking, you may feel as though your ankle is giving way.
Recovery from a grade 2 ankle sprain can take a few months.
Grade 3– This is characterized by a complete tearing of the ligaments, with no individual fibers intact. Severe pain, swelling, skin discoloration from bruising, a greater loss of range of motion, and difficulty walking are the usual symptoms of a grade 3 tear.
Recovery from a grade 3 ankle sprain can take several months.
Ankle Sprain Treatment in West Orange, NJ
At Hudson MD Group, we have highly qualified foot doctors on staff who use innovative treatment methods to treat the full range of foot and ankle conditions and injuries.
To get the most effective treatment for your ankle sprain, call us now at (973) 705-4914 or send us a message to schedule a consultation with one of our podiatrists. We look forward to helping you get back on your feet again!