The most common soft tissue injury in UK hospitals, ankle sprains are very common among those who play racket sports. Running at speed, lunging, suddenly changing direction, these are all contributors to ankle sprains.
Not all ankle sprains are serious - they vary in intensity. In a mild or minor ankle sprain means that the ligament is stretched or partially torn, while in a more severe injury, the ligament is completely torn. In the worst case scenario, the end of the bone to which the ligament is attached can even crack.
Typical symptoms to watch out for include:
- A feeling of "giving way"
- A snapping or popping sound
- Pain around the area - worse when you move your foot
- Pain upon weight bearing
- Swelling and bruising
These injuries typically occur when your foot turns inwards, rolling the ankle and overstretching the ligaments on the outside of your ankle.
Whatever the severity of the injury, treatment should begin with RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. For minor injuries this will be all that is needed, but if the pain is intense, or if it fails to improve after a couple of days, you should consult a doctor or sport medicine specialist to get a comprehensive evaluation.
A carefully designed rehabilitation program will be essential to restore full strength and range of motion and avoid a recurrence of the injury.