How to treat ankle sprain:symptoms, causes, first aid and treatment, rehabilitation

Update: December 2018

Since the ankle takes over the whole mass of a person and has
a specific structure quite often occurs his injuries
This is especially true of the muscular-ligamentous apparatus. Damage it
ligaments, of varying degrees, occur in one way or another
man throughout his life.

Ankle injuries are quite common, most often
sprains or partial damage to the ligaments occur. On самом
Deal can not stretch the ligaments, they are torn.

Therefore, ankle sprain is considered a partial
(single fibers) or complete rupture of tendon bundle fibers with
damage to microvessels and nerves, providing its trophism.

Ligament apparatus of the ankle represented by three groups of these

  • Связки межберцового синдесмоза: 
    • Межкостная
    • Rear bottom
    • Anterior lower interebral
    • Transverse;
  • Onружно-боковая связка;
  • Deltoid ligament (internal-lateral).

Each of these ligaments performs an important stabilizing
the function of this joint and even with the slightest damage to one of them
it is largely disrupted. It should be noted that each
the anatomical structure of the ankle has a good blood supply and
pronounced innervation (supply of nerves to tissues).

The reasons

Onдрыв связок происходит при беге или ходьбе по неровной
terrain, when wearing high heels, while playing sports
(athletics, football, alpine skiing), in situations where
limit increases the load that the ligaments are able to withstand. They
may be damaged when the foot is folded inward (tibial,
or deltoid group of ligaments) or outward (peroneal group),
most often there is a strain of the outer group.

Predisposing causes of damage to the ligament apparatus: Productive causes:
  • Trauma of the ankle ligaments in history;
  • Obesity;
  • Connective tissue diseases;
  • Professional sport;
  • Артрозы ankle;
  • Flat feet;
  • Clubfoot;
  • Anomalies of the bone system.
  • Tightening the foot out;
  • Tuck foot inside;
  • Strong blow to the foot without tucking it.


It is also important to highlight the degree of sprain:

  • Grade I is characterized by a slight tear of individual
    microscopic fibers or their bundle. Symptoms are mild,
    the damaged joint is palpable, and the volume of movement in it
    almost not broken. The victim may not come for a long time
    on foot.
  • Grade II is different from the previous one in that there is a gap
    already more significant amount of tendon fibers. Symptoms
    damage is more pronounced, the victim barely steps on his foot, and
    pain syndrome can mimic a fracture of tubular bones.
    A person’s ability to work is impaired for at least 5-7 days.
  • Grade III is the most severe and is characterized by complete
    separation of one or more bundles. The clinical picture reminds
    fracture of the bone components of the ankle, and in some cases
    exceeds it. The function of the foot is completely impaired, the emphasis on its
    impossible not only through pain, but also due to
    changes in the anatomical ratio of the elements of the joint.

Symptoms растяжения голеностопного сустава

You should be aware that a broken ankle may be mistaken for
a stretch of 2-3 degrees, therefore it is imperative immediately after any
ankle injuries refer to the orthopedic traumatologist
(см. отличие ушиба, перелома, вывиха, stretching).

When stretching the ligaments of 1 degree, the damage may not
immediately disturb the victim, the symptoms are not pronounced and at the same time
It does not reduce physical activity. On следующий день из-за
increase in edema, progression of hematoma, post-traumatic
inflammation, the victim has complaints. Man can and
lean on your leg, and move independently, but limping,
as movements in the joint cause pain. Bruise appears
(hemorrhage into subcutaneous tissue), an increase in local

At 2.3 degree of stretching:


Severe pain occurs immediately after injury and
its intensity may exceed even a fracture of the tubular bones.
Intense pain lasts for an hour, but gradually decreases.
and occurs only when trying to focus on the injured limb.
In mild stages, the victim can move independently,
and in case of heavier ones, due to severe pain. One of the factors
causing pain, is swelling. During his
spreading it squeezes the nerve endings and vascular


Edema является основным признаком повреждения связок и возникает
both lateral and medial ankle. Edema при такой травме
almost never covers the whole foot or lower leg. is he
lasts for one week and when it decreases it begins
manifest hematoma.



Hematoma is also an indirect sign of sprains. AT
the end of the first week it extends to the entire ankle with
damaged side. After a few weeks, the hematoma goes down in
bottom to the plantar part of the foot. It is important to know that throughout
at a specified time, the hematoma changes its shades from dark blue and
to yellow (due to the gradual breakdown of blood cells).

Impossibility of self-movement

Impaired function of the foot at 2 and 3 degrees is manifested by the fact that in
the first days it is impossible to completely rest on the foot and even more
take steps.

Sprain ankle, usually heals after 10-14


  • Radiography must be performed before treatment.
    sprained ankle and is the primary method
    differential diagnosis between fracture of joint elements and
    stretching. It is a mandatory study for such
    damage and is performed in both straight and side
  • Ankle ultrasound is an additional study and may
    be prescribed for both normal edema and hemarthrosis. Also with
    Using this method, an experienced ultrasound diagnostician can detect and break
    fiber bundles.
  • MRI is used only in the most severe cases to determine
    guidelines of surgical intervention. This method is great
    shows the joint in more favorable projections. MRI diagnosis
    is the “gold standard” with a combination of torn ligaments,
    syndesmosis and bone elements.

First aid

In case of such damage, properly rendered first aid can
greatly affect the recovery time of joint function and
регенерацию микроскопических fiber bundles.

  • Attach a cold to the injured area of ​​the ankle for 10-15
    minutes, repeat after half an hour. Such an event does not possess
    only an anesthetic effect, but also does not spread edema
    due to reflex vasoconstriction. To do this, wrap
    in a towel ice or frozen product from the freezer or
    Attach a container with very cold water.
  • Provide rest for injured leg, before diagnosis
    You can not fully rely on the foot. Fix the bottom
    limb stationary to the knee joint with
    transport or homemade tires, dressings. Specified area
    must be fixed before being examined by a surgeon or a traumatologist.
  • Give the foot a sublime position with a roller.
  • If possible, administer an anesthetic (injection or
    tablet form).


Mild to moderate degree of ankle sprain is treated in
home conditions. The treatment indicated below is considered to be conservative.
and be carried out only on stage I or II.

  • During the first day after injury, the victim should
    apply a cold on a limb regularly (5-6 times 10-15 times
  • It is also important to know that the foot must be fixed elastic.
    a bandage (bandage) in the form of a sock with an open heel and toes or
    plaster cast, depending on the degree of damage to the ligaments. On
    night the bandage is removed, the duration of wearing the bandage 7-10
  • In the case of a plaster cast, the victim should not
    is in it for more than 7 days, as it may develop
    unpleasant complication – joint instability. This is due
    so that even injured ligaments should take tone already
    after 5-8 days, which is not possible in a plaster cast.
  • On протяжении всего лечебного процесса травмированный
    ankle must be lubricated with anti-inflammatory ointments NSAIDs
    (long, diprilif, diclofenac, dolobene). Last not only
    relieve inflammation at the site of injury, but also provide anesthetic
  • If you save edema or hematomas need to be processed
    damaged area with blood supply ointments, see
    direct acting anticoagulants (heparin, indovazin).
  • The first few days after the ankle injury
    is in an elevated position. Thanks to this swelling passes
    faster and at the same time this situation also has a positive effect on
    reduction of pain.

In stage III, the resulting complete rupture of the ligament or its separation from
bone foundation needs to be scheduled
interventions. The essence of the latter is to restore
ligament continuity with tendon and bone suture.

  • In the postoperative period, the victim wears a plaster longev.
    for 1 month.
  • Also in the postoperative period, the victim is carried out
    conservative therapy aimed at improving the blood supply in
    lower limbs and enhancing regeneration processes.
  • For this purpose, venotonics are used, as well as drugs,
    expanding the lumen of the arterial vessel (detralex, tivortin,
    venorutinol). In addition to these properties, these medicinal
    funds reduce postoperative tissue edema.

What not to do when stretching

  • In no case can not rub the injured limb
  • Any thermal procedures (dry heat, hot baths,
    steaming) in the first week after injury.
  • Use elastic bandage during sleep.
  • You can not try to massage, “develop” the joint through
    pain in the first few days after injury, should be observed
    sparing orthopedic mode.


Rehabilitation measures depend on how long heals
sprained ankle, the degree of their damage and what
violations occurred after injury.


  • The use of ultrasound – this procedure improves not only
    microcirculation in the damaged area, but also accelerates the outflow of lymph.
    After its implementation, medicinal drugs are much better absorbed.
    funds in the form of ointments. In addition to these effects occurs
    accumulation of therapeutic drug in tissues.
  • UHF is used to accelerate reparative processes and reduce
    inflammation of local tissue. Due to dilation of vessels improves
    local metabolism.
  • Paraffin therapy is also an indispensable physiotherapeutic
    event. Its main effect is the elimination of inflammatory
    processes in injured ligaments and anesthesia. Can
    be used both in the first hours after injury and in the remote
  • Magnetic therapy greatly improves the flow of blood and
    lymph, and also reduces inflammation and increases absorption
    medicinal substances. Read more about the indications of magnetic therapy.
  • Electrophoresis with novocaine or non-steroid
    anti-inflammatory drug. Due to the expansion of blood vessels and
    improve microcirculation has anesthetic and
    anti-inflammatory effects. More about testimony


Gymnastics exercises aimed at strengthening the ligament
ankle apparatus, can be performed only in a remote period
(after about 1-3 months, depending on the severity

  • Walking on the toes for several minutes
    Daily 6 months.
  • Walking on the inside and outside of the foot.
  • Flexion and extension in the ankle joint.
  • Circular rotation foot.
  • Running on sand or small pebbles.
  • Walking on the heels.
  • Jumping rope.
  • Fixation of both feet with rubber with an attempt to rotate, bend and
    extensions, information and breeding.
  • Skating bottle foot.
  • Toes collect small items from the floor.

Also during the recovery period, swimming is recommended for patients.
classic style and exercise on the stationary bike.

Complications and prognosis

Complications of damage to the ankle are divided into those that
arise in the early post-traumatic period and occur in
late. The first are:

  • Dislocation (subluxation) of the joint. Especially often this is observed when
    Stage III;
  • Onгноение гематомы в области травмированного сустава или его
    the most;
  • Hemarthrosis (accumulation of blood in the joint cavity).

In the late period (2 months-5 years) arise:

  • Joint instability – manifested by frequent dislocations in
  • Flatfoot – occurs with frequent injuries of the ligament apparatus
  • Osteoarthritis – characterized by irreversible changes in the cavity
  • Arthritis – periodic accumulation of inflammatory fluid in
    ankle cavity.

As a rule, stretches of 1 degree heal without residual
phenomena. In case of damage of 2 and 3 degrees in some cases
further, the patient has tingling, chronic pain in
joint, especially under load. It is associated with the involvement of nerve
tissues in the process of scarring, and with the formation of small

Since the restoration of the ligamentous apparatus occurs due to
scar formation, it is clear that in the future injured ligament
Will be the least resistant to damage. For the prevention of repeated
injuries better use special calipers during class
sports. The prognosis after injury to the ligamentous apparatus depends largely
not only on the degree of damage, but also on remedial measures,
rehabilitation and lifestyle of a person, but in general he

How to apply a bandage when stretching the ankle

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