What’s getting you outside these days? Great spring weather is finally helping Monmouth County residents find more hours in the sun for yard work, walking, running, biking, and tossing a Frisbee. Unfortunately, accidents happen. All these activities come with injuries as well as fun. One of the most frequent injuries we see here at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center is the sprained ankle.
The ankle is the most common place in the human body to experience a sprain. So what exactly is a sprained ankle? It’s damage to the ligaments - tough, fibrous tissues that connect the ankle bones and allow free movement of the ankle. In a split second, you can turn or twist your ankle the wrong way, pulling on the ligaments so that they stretch too far or tear.
We divide sprains into three categories:
A grade 1 sprain means that a ligament has been stretched beyond its natural capacity.
A grade 2 sprain means you’ve got some tears within the ligament.
A grade 3 sprain means the ligament has completely torn.
When should you see a doctor?
You can treat minor, low-grade sprains at home with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. But make an appointment with our board-certified podiatrists Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, Dr. Dan Phan, and Dr. Joseph Saka if you have a lot of pain, can’t move your ankle at all, can’t put any weight on it, or your pain gets worse instead of better. A severe sprain makes the ankle unstable and may require surgery to fully heal.
You can prevent ankle sprains by staying still - just don’t move, pivot, land awkwardly, or gracelessly fall off a curb. But of course, we jest. We don’t want you to stop all your activities! However, there are a couple of things you can do to minimize your risk:
Strengthen the muscles surrounding your ankle with regular exercise. Strong muscles act like a shield, protecting and supporting the tissues and bones of your joints.
Always wear supportive shoes appropriate for your activity.