In an average year, an average of 2 million people suffer from an acute ankle sprain. Seventy percent of these sprains end up with residual pain even after the initial injury has healed. They are the most common ankle injury, however, strains and fractures also possible types of ankle injuries that may occur during falls, accidents, or sports-related collisions.
Continue reading to learn about each injury type as well as how to treat and heal them.
What Are the Common Ankle Injuries?
Ankle injuries occur when there is abnormal stress placed on the ankle. The common type of injuries include sprains, strains, and fractures. Other common injuries to the foot and ankle that might occur include contusions and inflammation.
Sprains are the most common ankle injuries. They occur when ligaments are stretched beyond their normal range of motion resulting in a tear in the ligament. Lateral ligament ankle sprains are the most commonly seen sprain. This type of sprain occurs when the ankle rolls in a downward/inward motion towards the opposite foot.
The three grades of sprained ankles present like this:
- Grade 1: mild sprain, overstretched ligament (no tear)
- Grade 2: moderate sprain, a partial tear in the ligament
- Grade 3: severe sprain, a complete tear in the ligament
A rupture is a complete tear in the ligament. This separation of the ligament is no longer stabilized. Surgery is necessary to make repairs to the torn ligament.
Strains refer to tendons being stretched too far, causing damage. The most commonly strained tendons are the peroneal tendons. While ankle fractures occur when one or more bones in the ankle and surrounding areas are broken.
Ankle Injury Symptoms
It can be tricky to differentiate between a sprain vs a fracture as they present with similar symptoms. This leads to fractures being misdiagnosed and vice versa. The main injury symptoms might include:
- Sudden, severe pain after the impact
- Inability to put weight on it
Other symptoms might include:
- Warmth (tendonitis)
- Weakness and instability
The symptoms between the different levels of sprains might also differ to a point. This means that the initial treatment for them will vary.
When to See the Doctor
When you suffer from an ankle injury, you may not feel the need to see a doctor because you have experienced them before and you know how to handle them. In some cases, however, you may:
- Not be able to put any weight on the injured foot
- Notice a strange deformity in the structure of your ankle
- Have pain in your bones rather than ligament pain
This is when you definitely need to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. Try to avoid walking on the injury until you do see a doctor.
How Are Ankle Injuries Usually Treated?
Sprains are treated based on the severity of the injury. A mild sprain (grade 1) will follow the RICE method for several days after the injury:
Your doctor will likely tell you to limit walking for 24 to 72 hours. After that, they recommend range of motion, stretching, and strengthening exercises.
Treatment for a moderate sprain (Grade 2) will follow the RICE method for several days. However, it may have a longer healing time that requires immobilization via a boot or a splint. Once it heals, then you’d be able to start the exercises.
A severe sprain (Grade 3) usually involves a ruptured or torn ligament. Immediate immobilization will occur. Once it heals, you can expect to go through long-term physical therapy to get back to normal. In some cases, you may need surgery to aid in the reconstruction of the ligament.
Strains are treated much like a Grade 1 sprain. Use the RICE method for several days. Then, slowly get back to normal with exercises.
Fractures require immobilization before the break starts to heal. In the non-surgical setting, the bones are held in place by a brace or a splint. When surgery is required, plates and screws may be placed to hold the bones in place. Typical fractures take up to six weeks to heal. Once it heals, it may require countless hours of physical therapy to get back a pain-free range of motion including:
- Gait training
- Balance training
- Strength training
- Mobility training
It can take several weeks to several months to get back to normal in any of these situations.
Other Treatments Options
If the pain from a simple strain or sprain just won’t go away, you may need to turn to an alternative source of medical intervention. Even after exhausting the list of treatments for these ankle injuries, you may still be experiencing pain several months or even years later.
There are two types of regenerative medicine available at Rejuvenate Your Health that may help to get rid of the pain and allow you to have the full range of motion in your ankle again.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
Platelet-rich plasma therapy refers to the body’s ability to heal itself. Those suffering from ligament injuries may greatly benefit from the procedure when they’ve tried other types of treatment without much relief from pain and stiffness.
The procedure consists of drawing blood from the patient and running it through the centrifuge to separate the platelets. The platelets are then injected into the injured area of the ankle. It helps to reduce pain and promote healing without relying on medication or surgery.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is another type of regenerative medical treatment that uses the body’s own stem cells to promote healing and relieve pain without needing surgery or pain medication. The process can help to reverse the breakdown in muscles as a result of a ligament injury. It can also help to treat chronic and acute ankle pain.
Stem cell therapy involves the collecting of stem cells through the patient’s bone marrow or cryopreserved amniotic fluid. The stem cells are then injected into the area that suffered from damage.
Rejuvenate Your Health Today
Getting regenerative treatment for common ankle injuries can help you to get relief from pain while encouraging your body to restore your ankle to its former healthy condition.
Contact Rejuvenate Your Health today to get more information on regenerative medical treatment for your injured ankle.