QUESTION: My child plays a fall sport. How do I recognize and treat an ankle sprain?

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School is coming quickly, like it or not. Before you know it, it’s time to start thinking about the fall sports. Even with all of the proper sports and safety equipment, accidents do happen. One very common injury which is often not treated adequately is ankle sprains.

An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments in the ankle. Ankle sprains are not the same as strains, which affect muscles rather than ligaments. Ligaments act like rubber bands, connecting one bone to another and binding the joints together. In the ankle joint, ligaments provide stability by limiting side-to-side movement. Depending on the injury, the ligament can be stretched, partially torn, or completely torn. There is also a question on the number of ligaments involved.

The symptoms of ankle sprains may include pain or soreness, swelling, bruising, difficulty walking or stiffness in the joint. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, even if there is no pain or swelling, treatment is crucial because an untreated ankle sprain:
• May lead to chronic ankle instability causing persistent discomfort and a “giving way” of the ankle.
• Weakness in the leg may also develop.
• A more severe ankle injury such as a fracture may have occurred along with the sprain.
• An ankle sprain may be accompanied by a foot injury that causes discomfort but has gone unnoticed thus far.
• If rehabilitation is delayed, the injury may be less likely to heal properly.

Family Foot & Ankle Center of Central Jersey provides comprehensive care for infants, children, teenagers, adults, and seniors. For more information on sprains and other foot or ankle problems, feel free to contact them.

Dr. Holli Alster
Family Foot & Ankle Center
600 Bridge Plaza Drive, Manalapan
732-851-1617  |