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Ankle Sprains - serious or should I just run it off?

Another common condition that people will normally just walk off without considering the cause or potential severity. What has actually happened is some tearing of the collagen fibres within the ankles that hold your ankle together.

So as we walk our ankle is being supported by a number of ligaments. These help to keep us balanced and pull us back and forth to keep us upright and our feet in line with our legs. If we damage these ligaments we are then restricted in our walking due to the protective pain sensation that is produced, which in turn gives them time to heal and repair.

How and why did I sprain my ankle?

There are many factors that can make you more susceptible to an ankle sprain, and the more you have the greater the likelihood that you'll suffer from them.

  • Sports - of course the more you're using the ankle joint the greater chance of an injury - so sports such as basketball where you are frequently pushing off and landing on your feet means you're at higher risk of an ankle injury - now you know why basketball players wear boots!

  • Weight - as with many conditions of the lower limb, being overweight will mean that there is an abnormal load upon your joints, which in turn means that they are having to work harder, causing sprains and breaks.

  • Others - of course there are many more, such as if you've had a previous injury or generally have loose ligaments,

It may be that you've just stretched your ligaments further than they're normally supposed to go, such as when your foot slips off a step.

Levels of Sprain - when is it serious?

The majority of sprains are very mild, and will clear up in a day or two. You can probably still walk almost normally, and are just annoyed that it's happened. But if the pain persists, the ankle is swollen or if you're unable to put pressure on the foot then a trip to a podiatrist would be a good idea.

The podiatrist will grade the severity of your sprain from a 1 (mild) to 3 (Severe), where a mild sprain is just microscopic tears of the collagen within the ligament to a severe sprain where a complete rupture or full tear has taken place. Of course treatment will vary depending upon the level of injury but gentle stretching and strengthening exercises are normally common for all.

As with many conditions, if a mild sprain isn't given time to repair itself properly you may find yourself with a worsening issue, and one that returns more frequently.

Podiatrists are trained to help you with your foot problems - Use them!

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