Treatment of a sprain ankle. Have you ever had a sprain ankle before or know of someone who’ve had it? While it is safe say that most people have an idea about what a sprain ankle is, people are unable to treat and diagnose it. A sprain ankle is an inversion-type twist of the foot. This occurs more in athletes but is not limited to this group of people alone, It can happen to anyone.

Signs and symptom of a sprain ankle

1.Pain /tenderness to ankle

2.Swellin and/ or bruising

3.cold foot/paresthesia( burning or pricking sensation)

4. Muscle spasm

How do you diagnose a sprain ankle

A sprain ankle is diagnose by doing a few simple test: 1. There is the external rotation test which evaluate the ligaments in the ankle by doing simply flexing the affected foot 2.The squeeze test to evaluate fibular injury 3.kleiger test which is a variation of external rotation test to evaluate the the deltoid ligament 4. Neurovascular evaluation: to assess neurovascular status of the affected limb.

Treatment of a sprain ankle

Most sprains resolve with treatment and rest ,however there is surgical intervention available for the ones that don’t resolve. Treatment of a sprain ankle include: RCE/PRICES( rest, ice ,compression, elevation, P is for protection, S for support). Use ice to control swelling, pain and muscle spasm. Do not apply ice directly to skin wrap the pack in a towel before use. Apply ice 15-20 mins, 3times daily. The use of compression with an elastic ankle sleeve or a lace-up ankle support is recommended. Elevate ankle above the level of heart to reduce swelling. Protective devices are use depending on the severity of the the sprain. Protective devices include air splints, ankle braces etc.

NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are used in the treatment of a sprain ankle but some physicians argue that it increases speed to recovery while some say it leads to increase swelling. However research has proven that the use of NSAIDs ( Panadol, Tylenol etc.) resulted in better control of pain, reduction of swelling and improve function after an acute sprain. Physical therapy is also recommended during recovery phase. Dorsiflexion, planter flexion, eversion and inversion are motions done to strengthen the ankle. If symptoms worsen consult a doctor it may be an indication that you need surgical intervention which include: 1.Watson-Jones procedure 2.Evens procedure 3.Chrisman-Snook procedure.

Long term complication may include but not limited to : 1. Chronic lateral ankle instability 2. swelling is noted with activity , and recovery is prolonged. 3.Talar dome fracture which occurs with inversion and eversion injuries 4.Complex regional pain syndrome(CRPS), or reflex sympathetic dystrophy , may develop after an ankle sprain. The reason is unknown; however this may come from splinting the foot and ankle.

This is an image of what a sprain ankle looks like with a torn ligament
A sprain injury with a torn ligament ( tissue that connects bones to bones)

How to prevent a sprain

To prevent future sprains consider type of activities eg. soccer, basket ball, valley ball etc. which has a high risk for sprains. Athletes should wear shoes with good stability and if passible exercise on an even surface. DO warm ups before training. You can use laced-up ankle braces or high top shoes which may add stability to ankle during activates. You should have a good body mass index. Increase body mass may place you at risk for an ankle sprains.

Return to normal activities

You can return to normal activity when:

1.No pain or tenderness

2.Strength of ankle muscles is 70-80%

3.Ability to balance on 1leg with eyes closed

4.Satisfactory clinical examination

An ankle sprain can be very painful and anyone with this type of injury should take good care of it to avoid the condition getting worst. If you have any questions or would like to share you views on this blog feel free to contact us.


My name is Tristar Rose. I am a nurse working at the ER and an affiliate marketer. My hobbies are music, photography, reading and sports.

63 thoughts on “Treatment of a sprain ankle”
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