Sprains of the ankle do not discriminate, as they affect the layperson as well as celebrities (former Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug , ‘American Idol’ winner Kelly Clarkson , ‘Dancing with the Stars’ winner J.R. Martinez , and the NBA’s Dwyane Wade to name just a few). Ankle sprains are far too common a condition for our patients at MediCenter Specialties Podiatry Clinic.
There are 3 common types of ankle sprains:
1. Lateral ankle sprain (most common; outside the ankle)
2. Medial ankle sprain (inner side of ankle)
3. High ankle sprain (i.e. above the ankle…rare. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of
the Pittsburgh Steelers suffered this injury during the 2011 NFL season)
A “sprain” occurs when there is either an abnormal stretching or actual tearing of a ligament, a fibrous tissue that connects’ bone to bone’. Blood vessels around a sprain can subsequently burst, leaking blood and fluid into the surrounding tissues causing bruising and swelling. The nerves around the area will feel this abnormal pressure and become more sensitive, resulting in pain.
Treatment is geared first at “RICE” (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) therapy and immobilizing or splinting the injury. Depending on the extent of the injury, what usually follows (during the subsequent weeks) is bracing or physical therapy to get you back on your feet as quickly (and safely) as possible. In those unfortunate cases where perhaps chronic pain or instability (ligaments have torn too much and leave the ankle loose and unstable) persists, surgical intervention may be warranted where ligaments can be repaired and/or a minimally invasive “clean out” of a painful ankle joint (i.e. arthroscopy) may be performed. ( New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had arthroscopic surgery on his injured ankle after Super Bowl XLVI)
What allows for the quickest recovery and least amount of complications is a stem cell activator injection into the ankle joint. This causes the damaged tissue to repair and strengthen as well as severely decrease the amount of pain and inflammation.
Oftentimes, sprains that occurred years ago are still painful due to either an inaccurate diagnosis or an incomplete rehabilitation in the first place. Some sprains are severe enough to “strain” or tear the tendons around the ankle. Along with a physical exam, diagnostic modalities such as musculoskeletal ultrasound (available at MediCenter Specialties Podiatry Clinic ) or even an MRI may be warranted to fully understand the extent of your “sprain” and help guide your rehab. Sometimes, a “sprain” turns out to be more involved, including an actual fracture (i.e. broken bone).
The bottom line is this…pain in and around your foot or ankle is not normal. But, first and foremost, it is imperative that you see an appropriate physician for an accurate diagnosis. If you’ve had the misfortune of suffering a recent ankle sprain or are still experiencing symptoms from an older injury, contact us at (907) 283-9110 for an evaluation.
To learn more about Dr Jeffrey L. Carlson, DPM click on the following link