The ankle region of the foot is highly vulnerable to injuries, particularly for those who are regularly involved in different kinds of sports and fitness activities. Different types of ankle injuries can affect this region. Ankle sprains can develop while playing common field games such as basketball, baseball, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, rugby, tennis and running. So let’s have a look at what are some of the common forms of these injures, what are their symptoms and how they can be treated.
Types of Ankle Sports Injuries:
Games like basketball, soccer, rugby and lacrosse can suffer from inversion ankle sprains which can cause major damage to the ankle ligaments. Sometimes fractures and peroneal tendon injuries can occur due to extended ankle injuries from sports. Sometimes these sprains can lead to chronic ankle instability unless treated with immediate medical care. Some patients are also prone to suffer from recurrent episodes of sprains that might undermine the strength of the area significantly.
Symptoms of Ankle Injuries:
A patient of ankle injury can experience a wide range of symptoms. Some of them are listed below:Mild cases
- Minimal pain
- Minor tearing
- Partial loss of balance
- Little or almost no joint instability
- Mild pain experienced during weight bearing activities
- Poor balance
- Stiffness and swelling
- Moderate to extreme pain
- Moderate instability of joints
- Some tearing of ligament fibers
- Pain experienced during weight bearing activities
- Poor balance
- Gross instability of joints
- Severe or intense swelling
- Complete tearing of the ligament
- Possibility of pain along with weight bearing
- Severe pain interspersed by periods of minimal pain
Management of Ankle Injuries:
The first standard treatment for ankle injuries consists of RICER protocol, which involves rest, ice, compression, elevation and referral. This should be followed for about 48 to 72 hours. During this stage, the prime focus is to minimize the bleeding if any and all damages that have occurred within the ankle joint. The patient should rest his or her ankle in elevated position and apply an ice pack for 20 minutes in every 2 hours. A compression bandage should also be used for limiting the bleeding and swelling in the joint area. Secondly, the patient should also practice No HARM protocol, which involves no heat, no alcohol, no running and no massage. It will help to reduce the swelling and bleeding in the affected area.
A professional sports medicine expert should be consulted in order to evaluate the extent of the injury as well as to determine effective treatment and rehabilitation procedures. Various imaging tests like X-rays can be performed to diagnose the magnitude of the injury.
Generally, it takes about 2-6 weeks after an ankle injury to get back to normal course of field activity. However, a severe ankle injury might take 12 weeks or more to recuperate. The patient should practice stretching the ankle joint to maintain its flexibility and balance during this time. The ankle may also be braced to avoid further injuries until complete functionality is restored.