Preventing and Aiding Ankle Sprains

One of the most common injuries, especially for athletes, is an ankle sprain. An ankle sprain happens when tendons and ligaments become twisted or bent in a way that they shouldn’t have and become stretched or even torn. The joint of the ankle consists of three bones that all correspond together in the leg. These bones are the Tibia, Fibula, and the Talus and the soft tissue that surrounds these bones is used mainly to help reduce the amount of impact on the ankle joint and to help stabilize the ankle for running, walking and swimming. Ankle sprains can vary in the degree of seriousness ranging from a first grade ankle to sprain to a third grade ankle sprain.

First Grade Ankle Sprain. This is usually the most common ankle sprain and does not usually need immediate medical attention. A first grade ankle sprain happens when the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint experience a minor tear or stretching without a too much loosening of the actual ligaments themselves. When this degree of an ankle sprain happens be sure to elevate the ankle above the heart so that the edema (buildup of fluid) can flow out of the swollen ankle. Be sure to apply ice to reduce swelling and not heat as that increases the swelling. Wrap the ankle in compression tape or bandage to help flow the edema out of the swollen area as well. Finally be sure that no weight is applied to the ankle for at least 24 hours after the injury.

Second Grade Ankle Sprain. Just like a first grade ankle sprain the second grade ankle sprain also has tearing and stretching of the ligaments that surround the ankle joint but on a much higher scale. This usually involves much more stretching and tearing that leads the injured person to be immobile for a few days. Although it is still a minor injury that does not need immediate medical attention the same steps as a first grade ankle sprain can be applied to rehabilitate the ankle joint.

Third Grade Ankle Sprain. When the ligaments that surround the ankle joint have become completely stretched to the point of tearing this is usually considered a third grade ankle sprain. In this situation immediate medical attention is required and surgery may be necessary.

To prevent ankle sprains be sure that proper stretching techniques are practiced every day. Making sure that all joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles are all well stretched and well fed will help to reduce the amount of possible injury in the future. As well as be sure to reduce the amount of activity that the ankle is experiencing is slight pain is noticed at first as this could help to prevent any unwanted stretching or tearing around the ankle joint.


“Sprained Ankle Prevention.” By Dana George

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