What is an ankle sprain?
March 1st, 2017 281 post views
Mykel Mason from Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, explains what an ankle sprain really is and how it happens.
An ankle sprain, typically described as a twisted ankle, is when the ligaments of the ankle are quickly overstretched and damaged. The most common type is an inversion ankle sprain which damages the ligament on the outside of the ankle towards the front. This ligament is called the anterior talofibular ligament.
How can you sprain an ankle?
It is very common for people to sustain this kind of injury during impact exercising, such as football, rugby or hockey. But it is actually just as easy to suffer sprains in simple innocuous ways like stepping off a kerb. You are also more likely to sprain your ankle if you have previously done so.
How bad is an ankle sprain?
There are three different grades of ankle sprain.
A grade one ankle sprain
Is a mild overstretching of a ligament with minimal tearing. With this you get mild tenderness and swelling but there is no instability and generally you are able to bear weight with minimal pain.
A grade two ankle sprain
Is an incomplete tear of a ligament. Consequently, you get moderate pain and swelling with some bruising and difficulty weight bearing.
A grade three ankle sprain
Is a complete tear of a ligament. As a result, you get extensive swelling and bruising with loss of function and instability.
The healing process
There are three stages of healing for an ankle sprain. The acute inflammatory phase, the reparative phase and remodelling phase.
The acute inflammatory phase
This lasts 24-72 hours. Damage to the blood vessels results in swelling and bruising.
The reparative phase
This is where repairing happens. Dead or damaged tissue is replaced with healthy cells and connective tissue. Cells that promote ligament repair are then supplied to allow ligament healing.
The remodelling phase
This is where the fibres of the ligament align themselves longways. New collagen needs time to mature with pre injury strength potentially regained by three months post injury.
Non-surgical treatment and management of an ankle ligament sprain has been shown to improve the rate of healing and appropriate rehabilitation to prevent further recurrence.