What you need to know about ankle sprains
To properly treat an ankle sprain it must be determined that the ankle is indeed sprained, and this requires an understanding of the condition.
What is an ankle sprain?
An ankle sprain is a common injury and usually results when the ankle is twisted or turned (inverted). The term sprain signifies injury to the soft tissues (usually ligaments) of the ankle.
What is a ligament?
It is a tough band of tissue that helps connect bones together. The specific ankle ligaments that are affected are the anterior talofibular, posterior talofibular and calcaneofibular ligaments. The inward movement of the ankle results in a stretching and tearing of the anterior talofibular and calcaneofibular ligaments. These two ligaments prevent the ankle moving forward or inwards.
Degrees of ankle sprains
A minor sprain is an over-stretch of the ligament/s and tenderness will result.
Next would be a partial tear of the ligament/s which can result in minimal bruising and swelling.
The last degree is a complete tear of one or more ligaments which will result in an inability to place weight on the ankle as well as acute bruising and swelling.
There is a condition which is the most severe form of an ankle sprain which is called ankle syndesmosis and it involves damage to the other supporting ligaments of the ankle and leg (shin area). This injury takes very long to heal.
Swelling, pain and bruising is to be expected. Swelling is a result of ruptured blood vessels and most of the initial swelling is blood leaking into the surrounding tissues. Continued swelling is a result of lymphatic fluid collecting in the area.
Protection of the ankle via a brace or bandages while the ligaments heal.
Resting of the injured ankle is very important.
Ice can be placed on the ankle to decrease swelling and speed up healing.
Compression on the ankle must be applied as soon as possible to decrease swelling.
Elevate the ankle to reduce swelling.
Exercise the ankle once it has healed to prevent repeated injury.
Camelot international sports massage manual (2013)