It`s no secret that ankle sprains can be extremely uncomfortable. Most sprained ankles occur in the lateral ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Sprains can range from tiny tears that make up the ligament to complete tears through the tissue (Grade I, II, or III). If there is a complete tear of the ligaments, the ankle may become unstable after the initial injury phase passes. Over time, this instability can result in damage to the bones and cartilage of the ankle joint.
Most ankle sprains are initially treated using the RICE protocol. Rest the ankle by keeping the patient off it. Crutches can be helpful in most cases to help swelling and pain during the initial week.
Ice, compression, and elevation should be immediately performed to keep the swelling down. It can be use for 20 to 30 minutes, three or four times daily. Some sprains will require treatment in addition to the RICE protocol and medications.
Immobilization should be utilized during the early phase of healing. It is important to support your ankle and protect it from sudden movements.
For a Grade 2 sprain, a removable pneumatic walking boot or air stirrup type brace can provide support.
Grade 3 sprains require short leg cast or cast brace for 2 to 3 weeks.
In rare cases, surgery can be performed when an injury doesn`t heal or the ankle remains unstable after a long period of physical therapy and rehabilitative exercises. Surgery may be performed to repair a ligament that won`t heal or reconstruct a ligament with tissue from a nearby ligament or tendon.
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For more information about Ankle Sprains including a suggested treatment plan, recommended billing codes, and supportive videos, visit Talar University – an education resource available exclusively to Talar Medical members.