What is the most common sports injury?
The most common sports injury is an ankle sprain. It is important to keep in mind that an ankle sprain can lead to other conditions such as ankle fracture, osteochondral lesion of the talus, ankle instability, and ligament injury.
What causes ankle sprain?
Ankle sprains most commonly occur when a person is active (e.g. running, soccer, basketball, tennis). However, it also can occur with normal everyday activities - missing a step when walking down the stairs or stepping on a curb. Contributing factors include but are not limited to improper shoe gear, ankle instability, gait instability, and cavus foot type.
Gait instability is most commonly seen in the elderly. The best way to prevent injury is to consider physical therapy for gait training or a walker for further stability.
What are common symptoms?
Ankle sprain generally presents as pain on the outside of the ankle. Swelling will occur and may last up to a month, depending on the severity. Bruising may or may not occur. Additionally, at the time of injury, the individual may or may not hear a popping sound.
What are my options?
Depending on the severity, you may or may not need to see your podiatrist. If you are able to walk after the ankle sprain, that is a good sign. Icing, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, and decreasing activities for two weeks may improve your condition significantly. If you are still in pain after two weeks, it is highly recommended that you seek professional evaluation. If you are an athlete, I recommend seeking professional evaluation immediately to maximize your recovery time.
At the time of your evaluation, X-rays will be taken to ensure that there are no fractures or significant ligamentous injury. Depending on the severity of injury, some of the treatment options include but not limited to:
Ankle brace vs. velocity brace