This post was written by Dr. Aditi Joshi, an ER physician and Medical Director of JeffConnect®. JeffConnect® On-Demand Video Visits ‘connect’ Jefferson emergency doctors to patients anytime via phone, tablet or computer-to treat a variety of minor illnesses, answer medical questions, and prescribe medications when appropriate.
Spring is here and the world has come alive with more outdoor activities to herald us into the summer. As more of us are out and about running, walking, hiking and doing other outdoor activities, we also see more falls, twists and sprains of our ankles.
What is a sprain?
A sprain is a lengthening or tearing of ligaments – the fibrous tissue that connects bone to bone. Our outer (lateral) ankles are more stable than the inner (medial) ankle so most injuries occur because we twist our ankles inward. This can injure any or all of the three ligaments that make up the lateral ankle. X-rays are rarely useful for diagnosing a sprain as they cannot show ligaments and tendons, but they can rule out a broken ankle.
What are the different types of sprains?
Ankle sprains have three different grades determine their severity and how they are treated:
- minor stretching of ligaments
- Recovery is from a few days to a week
- partial tear of ligaments
- swelling, bruising
- Recovery time can be 3-6 weeks
- complete tear of ligaments
- swelling, bruising, extreme pain to bearing weight
- Treatment includes PRICES (protection, relative rest, ice, compression, elevation and support), crutches, cast or splint and rehabilitative physical therapy. Sometimes, surgery is necessary.
- Recovery time can take a few months
How can JeffConnect® help?
The most common question is whether the ankle is likely broken. During an exam and careful history, it’s possible to determine whether an x-ray is necessary, what type of treatment is needed and appropriate follow up — whether that does means an x-ray, physical therapy, orthopedics, or staying home and resting.
While we hope you have no injury, remember JeffConnect® is available 24/7 for any questions or health issues you may have. Have a safe and lovely spring!