Howler Magazine - - Lifestyle - By Dr. Her­bert Wein­man

Most an­kle sprains oc­cur when the foot and an­kle sud­denly turn in­ward. This of­ten hap­pens when run­ning or piv­ot­ing. With these in­ver­sion in­juries, the pa­tient may feel a sharp pain at the front and/or side of the an­kle. The talofibu­lar lig­a­ment is the most com­monly stressed lig­a­ment with in­ver­sion in­juries.

Ever­sion an­kle sprains, in which the an­kle sud­denly turns out, are less com­mon. Stress is put on lig­a­ments that sta­bi­lize the an­kle's in­ner as­pect.

When a pa­tient suf­fers an an­kle sprain, the nor­mal range of mo­tion of the an­kle joint has been ex­ceeded. There is of­ten bleed­ing, swelling and ten­der­ness in and around the joint. Never ne­glect an an­kle sprain, be­cause prompt and cor­rect treat­ment usu­ally en­sures com­plete re­cov­ery. Bruising and lo­cal swelling are the usual hall­mark of an an­kle sprain, but a frac­ture (bro­ken bone) can also pro­duce these ex­ter­nal signs.

Treat­ment tips

• • •

• •

Stop all sport ac­tiv­i­ties

Ap­ply ice packs to the ten­der area

Use an Ace ban­dage for gen­tle com­pres­sion

El­e­vate the ex­trem­ity

Keep weight off the an­kle un­til it has been eval­u­ated by a health-care pro­fes­sional, with x-rays if needed, to rule out a frac­ture or dis­rup­tion of the joint

Use anti-in­flam­ma­tory med­i­ca­tion for pain as di­rected by a physi­cian or

• ther­a­pist

Tap­ing the an­kle may be nec­es­sary for bet­ter po­si­tion­ing and heal­ing or an air splint can be used

There is of­ten bleed­ing, swelling and ten­der­ness in and around the joint.

Lig­a­ment in­juries may take two to eight weeks to heal. The goals of an ex­er­cise pro­gram af­ter an an­kle sprain are to re­store range of mo­tion to the an­kle and foot, and to re­gain strength to pre­vent fur­ther sprains. As the pain and swelling sub­side, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ex­er­cises can be started. A thor­ough an­kle re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram should be su­per­vised by your health-care pro­fes­sional.

Some sim­ple ex­er­cises • Range of mo­tion:

Lie on your back, then po­si­tion your foot up and straighten your toes. Point your foot down while bend­ing your toes. Turn your foot in­ward, in­vert­ing the an­kle. Then turn your foot out at the an­kle. Hold each ex­er­cise for five sec­onds and re­peat.

Tilt board ex­er­cises:

Stand on a small tilt board (sim­i­lar to a small see­saw) with one foot on each side. Try a side-to-side move­ment to strengthen.

Stand against the wall and stretch up (im­por­tant for ten­don and calf mus­cles.)

Stand on a two-inch step or other el­e­va­tion. Slowly lower your heels below the step and then raise up again. Re­peat sev­eral times.

Achilles ten­don stretch­ing:

Heel raises:

Ask a trained phys­i­cal ther­a­pist about a home ex­er­cise pro­gram that strength­ens all leg mus­cles.

Never as­sume that even the slight­est an­kle in­jury is “just a sprain.” Your ne­glect may re­sult in a life­time prob­lem with per­ma­nent, ir­re­versible dam­age.

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