Sprained ankles are extremely common injuries, but they can impact your life more than you might expect since they reduce your walking abilities or stop you from walking altogether. At Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in West Memphis, Arkansas, and Collierville, Tennessee, Michael Hood, MD, specializes in evaluating, grading, and treating ankle sprains. To find out more about treating an ankle sprain, call either location or book an evaluation online today.
In order to stay stable as you stand and walk, your ankles rely on the network of strong ligaments supporting the bones. If you overstretch or tear one of these ligaments, the injury is called an ankle sprain.
An ankle sprain can be very painful and can even stop you from standing or walking. Since the symptoms, like severe pain and swelling, are extremely similar to symptoms of an ankle fracture, it’s important for you to get an accurate diagnosis right away.
Without treatment, an ankle sprain can leave your ankle weak, unstable, and vulnerable to other injuries. Most ankle sprains affect the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle, but you can also get a sprain on the inner side.
When you think of musculoskeletal injuries, accidents and risky behaviors might be your first thought. Though ankle sprains are common sports injuries, and many also occur during accidents and falls, you can also sprain your ankle by running on slanted ground or by rolling your ankle while out on a walk.
Physicians can classify an ankle sprain’s severity according to a common three-grade system. After a physical exam and possible imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans, Dr. Hood at Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine might classify your sprain as:
Grade 1 sprains are mild and occur when the ligament stretches slightly beyond its capacity. You might notice a bit of swelling, but you can probably still walk with a grade 1 sprain.
Grade 2 sprains involve a partial ligament tear. Your ankle is probably still stable, but attempts to walk can be painful and dangerous.
Grade 3 sprains involve a complete ligament tear somewhere in your ankle. They cause lots of instability, so walking on them is not possible.
After determining the grade of your ankle sprain, Dr. Hood can plan your treatment. The majority of ankle sprains don’t need surgery to heal effectively. Dr. Hood might first recommend nonoperative treatments like:
If you have a grade 3 ankle sprain that doesn’t respond to nonoperative treatments or if your ankle remains unstable after months of healing, Dr. Hood may perform minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery or ankle reconstruction to repair the ligament. During surgery, he may also dislodge pieces of a ligament that are caught in the joint or repair other structural damages.
If you experience symptoms of an ankle sprain, don’t hesitate to call either Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine location or book an evaluation online today.