A severe ankle sprain usually happens to athletes and people who are practicing some sort of a physical activity. Find out all about it!

Now, what is a sprained ankle about? It is most common in the world of sports and is one of those that most affects the joint in question. It is common in the world of athletics, football and basketball, since pressure is exerted on the lower limbs there too.

What is a severe ankle sprain?

What is a severe ankle sprain? This is about stretching the participating ligaments beyond their capabilities.

We must think of ligaments as soft structures designed to provide support and flexibility at the same time. They could be considered natural elastics that relax and return to their initial shape once the movement is finished. In the sprain there is an excessive elongation of the tissues that do not regain their length, but instead weaken in the process.

All of the ligaments in the joint are susceptible to overstretching. These ligaments are as follows:

  • External side.
  • Anterior peroneotalar.
  • Internal side.

Most of the time the lesion is located on the external side. It is usually a bad footfall or a collision with another object (the leg of an opposing player, for example) that moves the foot in or out, beyond its limits and capabilities.

How is it classified?

Not all sprains are equal in complexity and severity. Trauma science classifies them into three different types:

First degree: This is the ankle sprain that is not associated with torn ligaments. Tissues are overstretched, but retain integrity, although they lose elasticity. In these cases, the pain is bearable. Sometimes, athletes don’t even notice they have it.

Second degree: in this intermediate severity there is a partial tear of the ligaments. Of course, fluid accumulates and the inflammation is almost immediate. The pain disabling and intence, forcing sports activity to stop. If the tear is large enough there will be an accumulation of blood in the form of a hematoma.

Third degree: This is the most serious variety of severe ankle sprain. The affected ligament is completely torn and the joint loses all function at the time. Mobility is non-existent from the beginning and the pain is unbearable.

Risk factors for this injury

There are risk factors that increase the possibility of injury. A professional athlete, a sedentary individual, and an amateur athlete, are not the same. The exhibition is different.

The following are some of those risk factors:

  • Age: the sensitivity is in the ligaments increases with age. The lower elasticity favors the breaks in the soft tissues against movements that should not lead to injuries.
  • Obesity: the joints of the lower limbs carry all the body weight when you are standing. Any excess weight affects the joints, knees and ankles especially. If to this you add a significant lateral force that destabilizes the person, the ligaments will not be able to withstand the inertia and will give way.
  • Intense sports: hard workouts, repetition games and the amount of minutes running all combine to accumulate microtrauma and tissue fatigue in sportsmen.
  • Previous Injuries – Previously injured joints are more prone to sprains. Although they are contralateral, they contribute to disfavoring balance, since the body tends to rely more on the limbs that are not injured. This trend overloads the healthy sides.

How long does it take to heal?

The healing in the first degree sprain is quick. An adequate rehabilitation with sufficient rest is the minimum and essential for trained athletes who have good muscle mass and can compensate for weakness.

With second and third degree sprains, it’s a whole different situation. As there is a certain degree of breakage, it is logical to expect the scar to form progressively in order to regain mobility. This process takes at least 30 days.

Successful recoveries are sometimes achieved within 3 weeks, but this is not usual. In another sense, up to 6 weeks require severe cases with completely torn ligaments and undergoing surgery.

To avoid bandaging and to ensure the rest of the ligaments, in most severe ankle sprains, people use immobilization boots.

Anti-inflammatories use is subject to the patient’s pain threshold and medical prescription. You may start with ibuprofen, a basic medicine, or resort to more powerful options.

Finally, the third degree ankle sprain undergoes surgery. The tendon must go through rehabilitation and repair with intensive physiotherapy, especially in the case of elite athletes. Otherwise it would be impossible to return to professional activity.

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