Ankle Sprains Symptoms and Treatments (Non-Surgical)
Symptoms of a sprained ankle can vary and some may be very mild while others can be very severe. With a mild sprain normal activities can often be continued with a little extra care given to support the ankle as it heals. A very severe injury may result in more intensive care and support being needed during the healing process. A sprain injury to the ankle usually occurs as a result of some sudden trauma, twisting or tilting of the ankle joint. Pain will be felt immediately but can subside, only to return later on as the injury worsens. Swelling or bruising can show a few hours or days after a more serious sprain injury. Pain and tenderness is the result of the injury and damage done along with the compression of bones and soft tissue. Sprains can be a grade 1,2 or 3 depending on severity of the injury.
Level of Sprains Described
Grade 1 With this type of ankle injury, the symptoms will result in mild pain and only a slight reduction in stability and movement. Some stiffness in the joint can result if there is mild swelling. This can lead to difficulty walking but most people can push through and continue on with their regular activities. Usually this level of sprain needs to be wrapped to add support and prevent additional sprains as the ankle heals.
Grade 2 Grade sprains of this level have symptoms that will result in moderate to severe pain and there can be trouble putting weight on the ankle. This makes walking difficult and the weakness makes the ankle prone to repeat injury. Someone with this level sprain will be unlikely to walk normally and will limp. Minor bruising may be evident and the ankle joint will also become stiff and swollen. In this level sprain slight tears in the muscles and ligaments of the ankle can be present too.
Grade 3 Ankle sprains at this severity usually results in a rupturing or full tearing of the ligaments in the joint. Severe pain will be felt initially and there will be a lot of swelling, stiffness, and bruising almost instantly. The ankle will be unable to support any weight, the softest touch will cause pain and there will be no mobility in the ankle due to the pain and swelling.
Ankle Sprain Treatment
Treating an ankle sprain right away will help reduce symptoms and speed recovery. First aid for this type of injury is RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Rest means getting off the injured ankle and not using it. Stay in a chair or on the couch and limit the amount of time you are putting weight on your ankle. Ice can help reduce swelling and numb pain and discomfort. Ice should be applied only 10-15 minutes at a time and always wrapped in soft cloth before being applied to the skin. Compression can be accomplished by wrapping the injured joint. This provides support and stability and also helps reduce swelling and limits the chance for repeat injury. Elevation helps reduce swelling and pain and is easy to accomplish during rest periods. Simply prop up your foot as high as you comfortably can- putting a few pillows under your foot as you lie on the couch or prop your foot up on another chair. Minor injuries can take a week or two to fully heal and more severe ankle sprains can take three weeks or more before a full recovery is made depending on the extent of the injury.