Sprain / Strain, Ankle (Mild)
A strain is an inflammation to the tendons that connect muscles to the bones and is typically caused by overuse or a sudden increase in use of the muscles. Tenderness, pain and swelling usually occur with a strain. If left untreated the strained tendons can start to pull away from the muscle with slight tearing progressing to tendinitis. The strained muscle area should be rested and allowed to heal. Compressive supports or braces help hold the muscles and tendons in proper position to allow healing to begin and help prevent further tearing. It is also recommended that the injured area be iced and elevated immediately after activity. Ankle strains and sprains are very common because the complex ankle structure has numerous tendons and ligaments. A mild sprain is a slight stretching or tearing of a ligament group. Mild ankle sprains can result from a variety of causes - the most frequent cause is an inward twisting of the foot resulting from walking in high heels, stepping off a curb, or running on uneven surfaces. A mild ankle sprain is referred to as a first degree ankle sprain. Minor pain, tenderness and swelling may occur but walking is generally not disturbed. To prevent re-injury and to allow healing to begin, a compressive or stabilizing brace should be worn during daily activities. During periods of rest the ankle should be elevated and iced in twenty-minute intervals as needed to reduce swelling. Once healed a support should be worn during activity to prevent reinjury.