Ankle sprains are considered as one of the most prevalent injuries that occur in the inferior leg. It is important to note that ankle sprains typically occur once one or several ligaments that surround the three ankle joints are injured. The damage on the ligaments can be minor which can be a stretched ligament or moderate which involves a partial tear. In some cases, the affected ligament can be severed. By enrolling in a first aid class, you will learn how to properly manage a sprained ankle.
Ankle sprains can completely heal and the individual can resume normal activity. On the other hand, due to incorrect diagnosis, early return to activity, inappropriate treatment or severe damage, the lasting negative effects tend to develop.
One of the most prevalent lasting effects of a sprained ankle is chronic pain. In severe cases of sprains, it should not cause any pain and fully heal within 10 weeks. In case the pain and inflammation lasts more than this given time frame, there is probability of a missed hairline fracture, torn cartilage or a ruptured tendon.
The chronic pain without swelling is due to either a partly unresolved nerve damage or dislocation. Always bear in mind that chronic ankle pain can change the gait of the individual which can adversely affect the joints in the hips, lower back and knees. Chronic pain can also result to dependence on pain medications which drastically increase the risk for stomach ulceration and even liver disease.
Diminished movement is another lasting effect of a sprained ankle and typically a result of severe inflammation and stiffness. Moving the foot upwards that goes closer to the shin or pointing of the foot away from the leg are movements that are typically affected, especially if the ankle was under a cast extensively or the recommended rehabilitation exercises were not followed.
Severe swelling is typically triggered by an untreated ligament torn, infection, non-union fracture and damaged blood vessels. Prolonged swelling is oftentimes instigated by synovitis which is the swelling of the interior layer of the ankle joint. Take note that severe swelling of the ankle joints lasting for some time can alter the color and texture of the skin surrounding the ankle to tanned and leathery.
The instability of the ankle occurs once the injured ligament could not recover its structural elasticity, resulting to ankle joints that are hypermobile and move in unusual ways. The instability is accompanied by low-grade pain and swelling.
Damage to the nerves
Nerve damage occurs once there is excessive twisting during an ankle sprain or extensive swelling resulting to the compression of the nerves that surround the ankle. The lasting effects include tingling, burning pain, muscle weakness, numbness, diminished nerve reflexes and muscle twitching.
After several months, diminished range of motion and dislocation of the joint can lead to osteoarthritis which is distinguished by diminished joint space and bone spurs on the X-ray result. The symptoms of the condition include grinding upon movement and aching pain in the morning.