Yasmin Dhar, M.D.
Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist
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Ankle sprains are a common injury usually occurring from a sudden twisting or sideways motion of the ankle. It can happen during athletic or even during everyday activities, such as stepping off a curd awkwardly.
A sprained ankle occurs when the ligaments that normally support the ankle stretch or sometimes partially or fully tear. Most commonly, the ligaments on the outside of the ankle are the ones injured.
Ankle sprains are graded 1-3 (mild, moderate or severe) based on the severity of the injury. Symptoms generally include swelling, pain, stiffness and an inability to weight-bear. You made need X-rays if your symptoms are very severe to make sure you do not have a fracture.
The grade of ankle sprain also translates into the recovery time and treatment, which includes mostly conservative treatment such as rest, ice, compression, anti-inflammatory medication and elevation.
Sometimes, a cast or brace is needed to immobilize the ankle to aid with swelling and ligament healing.
Physical therapy is an important part of treatment, recovery and prevention of re-injury, allowing you to progress back to your activities in a safe and efficient manner. Rarely, a surgery, ankle arthroscopy or open surgery, is needed, but may be indicated for someone with recurrent ankle sprains resulting in gross looseness or instability of the ankle or damage to the cartilage of the ankle.
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