Ankle Sprain Treatment in Bonita Springs
Foot Pain Specialties
A common injury of the lower leg, approximately 25,000 people suffer an ankle sprain each day. Also known as a twisted or rolled ankle, these sprains can result from athletic activity, or a simple misstep, where the foot lands at an awkward angle or on an uneven surface. If not allowed to properly heal, a sprained ankle can become a chronic condition.
The Anatomy of the Ankle
Located where the lower leg meets the foot, the ankle is the combination of multiple joints, which provide the up-and-down and side-to-side motion of the foot, respectively. The tibiotalar joint is composed of the tibia (shinbone) of the lower leg and the talus, the uppermost bone of the foot. The talocalcaneal, or subtalar, joint consists of the talus and the calcaneus (heel bone). As with most joints, articular cartilage covers the bones to decrease friction and allow for pain-free movement.
Several ligaments connect the various bones of the ankle, holding the bones in position and providing stability to the joint. An ankle sprain results when one or more of the ligaments within the ankle is overextended, and forced to stretch beyond its normal range.Schedule an appointment for ankle sprain treatment at our Naples office »
How Does An Ankle Sprain Occur?
Ligament overextension can be caused by athletic activities requiring side-to-side motion, such as tennis. Likewise, basketball is a common cause of ankle sprains, due to a player jumping and potentially landing on another player's foot. Awkward foot landings can also occur during everyday activities, such as stepping off of a curb or down a flight of stairs.
Most commonly, the ankle is sprained by the foot falling inward. This motion results in an Inversion Ankle Sprain, and is caused by the overextension of one or more of the three lateral (outer) ankle ligaments.
The foot twisting outwards, and overextending the inner ligament, called the deltoid ligament, causes an Eversion Ankle Sprain. Another type of eversion ankle sprain is a 'high ankle sprain'. Commonly occurring during contact sports, a high ankle sprain is the overextension of the syndesmotic ligament, which connects the tibia and fibula.
Severity of Ankle Sprain
Based on the severity of the ligament extension, ankle sprains are categorized into three grades.
Grade 1: Minor sprain of the ankle, resulting in minimal physical impairment and symptoms of minimal tenderness and swelling
Grade 2: Moderate sprain with complete tearing of some of the fibers in the ligament (A Grade 2 ankle sprain will likely require immobilization with a splint and a physical therapy regimen for proper healing)
Grade 3: Complete ligament tear that may require surgical reconstruction
Diagnosis and Treatment
To determine the grade of the ankle sprain and the most effective treatment method, a visit to an orthopaedic surgeon may be required. Along with a physical exam, Dr. Weaver may take an x-ray of the injured ankle to determine whether the pain and swelling is due to a broken bone and not a sprained ligament. If a complete ligament tear is suspected, an MRI scan may be performed to ensure accurate diagnosis.
Mild to moderate ankle sprains will likely be treated through non-surgical methods. Along with some gentle motion exercises to prevent stiffness, the ankle sprain may only require the patient to follow the R.I.C.E. guidelines of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Additionally, medications, such as NSAIDs, may be recommended to relieve pain and swelling.
For additional immobilization and protection, a more moderate sprain may also require a removable cast boot or air splint.
A more severe ankle sprain may require a longer period of immobilization for healing. Furthermore, a more intense period of rehabilitation is often necessary to prevent chronic ankle problems.
Although surgical treatment is rare, if the injury does not respond to more conservative, non-surgical treatments, it may be recommended. If surgery is required to restore full joint function, Dr. Weaver will use minimally invasive, arthroscopic techniques whenever possible. Minimally invasive surgical techniques require a smaller incision compared to traditional surgery, and provide patients with potential benefits, including reductions in scarring, tissue damage, blood loss, and recovery period.
Ankle Sprain Treatment in Bonita Springs
Dr. Jamie Weaver specializes in pediatric care of the foot and ankle. She emphasizes the education of her patients to ensure that they are fully informed on her diagnosis, treatment recommendations, and expected outcomes. To schedule an appointment at the Joint Replacement Institute's Naples office with Dr. Weaver, call 239-261-2663.