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Ankle sprain

In short,an ankle sprain is one of the most common types of injury and is accompanied by the swollen tissue around the ankle bone. Medically speaking, it is a stretching and tearing of ligaments (Just for clarification, you sprain a ligament and strain a muscle).

The most common damage done in an ankle sprain is to the talo-fibula ligament. If the injury is worse you might also damage the calcanao-fibula ligament. In addition to the ligament damage you could well have damaged tendons as well.

There are three degrees of ligament sprain:

First degree:

  • Some stretching or perhaps tearing of the ligament
  • Little or no joint instability
  • Mild pain
  • Little swelling
  • Some joint stiffness

Second degree:

  • Some tearing of the ligament fibres
  • Moderate instability of the joint
  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Swelling and stiffness

Third degree:

  • Total rupture of a ligament
  • Gross instability of the joint
  • Severe pain initially followed by no pain
  • Severe swelling

What can an athlete do?

  • Aim to reduce the swelling by RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) as soon as possible.
  • Protect the injured ankle by taping or a support (although do not rely on them for ever as this will weaken the joint)
  • Rest the injured ankle - use crutches if necessary - no weight bearing for 24 hours, longer if necessary
  • See a sports injury specialist who can advise on rehabilitation including mobility, and strengthening

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