Ankle injuries occur in athletics, fitness, and everyday life. Injuries like sprains, strains
and fractures happen to elite athletes in the NFL to Betty-Lou walking her dog down the road. This article will teach you how to treat common ankle injuries and discuss myths about these injuries that you hear every day.
Sprain vs. Strain
Some of the things that people believe about sprains and strains are remarkable. So what is the difference? Is there a difference? The answer is yes. They are two completely different injuries. A sprain is an injury (stretch, tear or other cause of harm) to a ligament. A ligament is a piece of connective tissue that brings together two different bones. A strain is an injury (stretch, tear or other cause of harm) to a tendon. A tendon is a piece of connective tissue that bonds muscle with bone.
Let’s put to rest some common myths about sprains and strains:
- No, one is not worse or better than the other.
- Yes, both injuries can be treated the same (see treatment below).
- No, there is no such thing as a “high ankle sprain.” This term is made up by sports broadcasters.
- No, you cannot sprain a bone. A sprain is an injury to a ligament, not a bone.
- No, sprain or strain does not mean that the body part is torn. An injury to a ligament or tendon can be stretched, partially torn, or completely torn.
Treatment for sprains and strains are similarly easy. All you have to do is follow these easy steps given with the acronym: R.I.C.E.
- R- Rest. You want to make sure you do not move or use the injured area. If possible use crutches or a cane and put most of your weight on your opposite leg.
- Ice. Icing the injured area immediately will slow the blood flow to that area to reduce swelling, stimulate the nerves and freeze the area to reduce pain and prevent or reduce bruising.
- C- Compress. If the injury occurs while you are wearing cleats, ankle braces, or any other tight structure on your foot, leave them on. Compressing the area will prevent rapid swelling.
- E- Elevate. Prop your leg up on a pillow or stack of books. Gravity will force the injured blood vessels (which we call and see as bruises) back to the heart to get re-oxygenated.
Myths on another common ankle injury: Fractures.
- No, there is not a difference between a fractured bone and a broken bone. The words are synonyms. If a bone in your ankle is broken, it’s also fractured.
- Yes, there are different types of fractures. A complete fracture is a bone that has been completely broken in half and is no longer connected to the other half in any way.
- No, just because you can walk doesn’t mean your ankle isn’t broken. Often you can still run with some minor fractures.
- Yes, a bone can actually break through the skin. This is referred to as an open fracture.
Yes, fractures can be treated the same way as sprains and strains.