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Ankle Sprains and Strains: Similar but Different

Tuesday, 26 April 2022 00:00

The words sprain and strain are very similar. So too, are several symptoms of an ankle sprain and ankle strain. Ankle sprains involve the ligaments which hold the bones of the ankle together and support it, while strains involve ankle muscles, often where the muscle attaches to a tendon. In a sprain, the pain is immediate and there may be bruising, while pain from a strain can sometimes come on gradually and a bruise is typically not visible. Both injuries can produce localized swelling, inflammation, and redness. Yet, there may be a noise—an audible popping sound the moment the ligament is injured—in an ankle sprain, which does not occur when you strain the muscles in your ankle. However, you may experience cramps, spasms, or weakness in the muscle when you’ve strained your ankle, which usually doesn’t occur if you’ve sprained the ligaments of your ankle. Both conditions can make it difficult or impossible to move your ankle or to place weight on it. If you are experiencing any type of pain, inflammation, redness, or swelling in your ankles, contact a podiatrist to have your condition properly diagnosed and treated.

Although ankle sprains are common, they aren’t always minor injuries. If you need your ankle injury looked at, contact Dr. Glen Robison from AZ Foot & Ankle. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?

Ankle sprains are the result of a tear in the ligaments within the ankle. These injuries may happen when you make a rapid shifting movement while your foot is planted. A less common way to sprain your ankle is when your ankle rolls inward while your foot turns outward.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Pain at the sight of the tear
  • Bruising/Swelling
  • Ankle area is tender to touch
  • In severe cases, may hear/feel something tear
  • Skin discoloration

Preventing a Sprain

  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
  • Stretching before exercises and sports
  • Knowing your limits

Treatment of a Sprain

In many cases, the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate) is used to treat ankle sprains. However, you should see a podiatrist to see which treatment option would work best with your injury. In severe cases, surgery may be required.

It is important to ask your doctor about rehab options after you receive treatment for your injury. Stretching, strength training, and balance exercises may help the ankle heal while also preventing further injury.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices located in Mesa and Globe, AZ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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