Joints are essential components of the musculoskeletal system that allow us to move in a range of different manners. All of them have a certain degree of value for the human body, but ankle joints tend to be particularly important. Without the ankle joints, feet would be stationary and natural walking, running, and jumping processes would simply not be possible. The fact that they do allow movement, though, means that they are at risk for injury, including ankle sprains.
In order to have a better understanding of ankle sprains, it helps to become familiar with the anatomy of the ankle and see how this vital joint works. To start with, it is important to note that the ankle is often colloquially known as a “joint,” but there are actually two different joints. The subtalar joint is found where the talus bone (ankle bone) meets the calcaneus (heel bone) and it allows side-to-side movement. The “true ankle joint” is located where the tibia and fibula (lower leg bones) connect to the talus and it enables up-and-down motion.
In addition to the respective bones, both joints are further supported by various ligaments, which connect bones together. The ones frequently injured in a sprain are front and middle bands of the lateral ligament.
Ankle Sprains Explained
Basically, an ankle sprain happens when the ligaments that support the joint are extended beyond their intended range of motion. This causes the connective tissues to stretch or tear (either partially or completely). The injury is often sustained during athletic participation, while walking on an uneven surface, or from an awkward landing following a trip, fall, or jump.
The key signs and symptoms of this common injury include:
- Pain, particularly when the affected foot is bearing weight
- Restricted range of motion
Treatment for Sprained Ankles
As one might expect, treatment for an ankle sprain depends on the severity of the injury and the patient. That said, conservative methods are often quite effective. These include rest, ice compression, elevation, medication, and exercises that restore and promote ankle strength, flexibility, balance, and range of motion.
In the event of a severe tear or unstable ankle joint, surgery may be recommended. If this is the case, we will discuss your options beforehand and provide information so you can make an informed decision regarding your healthcare.
Treating an ankle sprain and not resuming intense activity too quickly is important for preventing the condition from escalating into a case of chronic ankle instability. When this happens, it is considerably more likely for future ankle sprains to occur. The best way to avoid this situation is to follow our timetable for your injury recovery.
Ankle Sprain Prevention
Dr. Marilyn Boyuka is certainly able to provide the effective treatment you need for a sprained ankle, but we would prefer to know that you were able to avoid suffering from the injury in the first place. The good news is that there are measures you can talk to prevent an ankle sprain, including:
- Warm up and use dynamic stretches before physical activity.
- Wear shoes that are activity-appropriate and fit correctly.
- Be mindful of the surfaces you walk or run on.
- Do not wear high-heeled shoes, or at least wear them sparingly.
- Perform balance exercises and stability training.
- Exercise and eat well to maintain muscle strength and flexibility.
Professional Ankle Sprain Care in the Southern Tier
Conservative, at-home care for ankle sprains can often be quite effective, but it is still important to come see us for both professional diagnosis and ankle instability prevention. Given that ankle fractures and sprains have similar symptoms, you also want to make sure that the correct injury is being addressed and our Greater Binghamton office can provide an accurate diagnosis. Additionally, Dr. Marilyn Boyuka will create an effective treatment plan so you can resume your favorite activities in a timely manner.
We provide comprehensive foot care for patients in Broome County, so contact Southern Tier Podiatry today for more information and to find out how we can help you and your loved ones. Call our Vestal, NY office at (607) 217-5668 or simply contact us online.