Common injury in athletics is the ankle sprain. This article is dedicated to Ameerah who sustained an injury (A third degree ankle sprain) a few weeks ago and have to sit out for a few competitions so that healing can take place. Get well soon Ameerah
Please note: you can sprain a ligament and strain a muscle. The most common is an inversion sprain (or lateral ligament sprain) where the ankle turns under so the sole of the foot faces inwards, damaging the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.
In addition to the ligament damage there may also be damage to tendons, bone and other joint tissues, which is why it is important to get a professional to diagnose an ankle sprain for a first degree sprain, Second degree sprain and a third degree ankle sprain.
Immediate First Aid:
Aim to reduce the swelling by DR .ICE.
D is for diagnosis. It is important to get the correct diagnosis from the start. If other factors such as an avulsion sprain (where a bone fragment is pulled away from the bone) are suspected then treatment may be different.
R is for rest. It is important to rest the injury to reduce pain and prevent further damage.
I is for ICE or cold therapy. Applying ice and compression can ease the pain, reduce swelling, reduce bleeding (initially) and encourage blood flow (when used later).
C is for compression - This reduces bleeding and helps reduce swelling.
E is for Elevation - Use gravity to reduce bleeding and swelling by allowing fluids to flow away from the site of injury.
In addition to immediate first aid the athlete can do the following:
Protect the injured ankle by wearing an ankle support.
A sports injury specialist will undertake a thorough assessment of the injury so time is not wasted treating the wrong condition
A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication (e.g. ibuprofen) to help with pain and swelling
A full ankle rehabilitation program