Living a fun- and activity-filled life is an ideal and healthy goal to aim for. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll in the park, a challenging hiking trip in a forest on uneven terrain, or simply playing with your children in the backyard, your ankles are working hard to support your weight and freedom of movement. Unfortunately, one careless step, or a momentary loss of balance is enough to lead to sudden traumatic injury, causing sprain, rupture, or in severe cases, torn ligament in ankle.
What Are Ligaments and How Do They Work?
Your ankle bones are held together by three strong, elastic bands of connective tissue, the ankle ligaments. Their purpose is to provide support for the bones, while offering a wide range of delicate motions to your feet. Their health is vitally important to allow walking, running, and other weight-bearing physical activities.
What Happens When Ankle Ligaments Are Injured?
Unexpected, sudden twist of your ankle can lead to stretching and tearing of the ligaments, causing various degrees of trauma. In mild cases, the ankle joint is sprained with only minor damage present, however if the injury is severe, your ligaments could partially rupture, or even end up being completely torn.
What Does Torn Ligament in Ankle Feel Like?
When dealing with potential ligament injury, you should look for the following symptoms:
- the most common sign of torn ligament in ankle is pain of varying degree; serious discomfort being extremely likely
- you may experience swelling and bruising around the affected ankle
- standing and putting weight on the injured foot becomes difficult, even impossible
- in severe cases, you may have heard a popping sound during your accident
When ligaments are torn, your symptoms are unlikely to improve on their own in the hours following the injury. It is impossible to tell the severity of the damage simply judging from what you feel and see; medical evaluation is almost always necessary.
How Will My Ankle Injury Be Evaluated and What Are My Treatment Options?
During your visit, your medical professional will likely request an x-ray to have a better idea about the extent of your ankle injury. If your ligaments are torn, resting your ankle is vitally important. In order to immobilize the affected joint, an ankle brace may be worn for a period of time to help the ligaments heal, and to provide stability for the ankle. In the meantime, ice and compression may help to relieve the swelling, and elevating your foot will ensure that your ankle receives the proper rest it needs during the healing process. Surgery of the torn ligaments is rarely needed. Unless you experience repeated ankle trauma, your ligaments should heal on their own, provided that the advice of your medical professional is being followed. However, should this injury occur too frequently, surgical tightening of the ligaments may become necessary.
How Long Before I Can Return to My Previous Activities?
While torn ankle ligaments may heal relatively quickly, the gradual rehabilitation of the affected joint is very important. Ask your podiatrist’s advice, start slowly, and move gently. Daily stretching and strengthening exercises are a great way to increase the range of motion until you are able to bear weight on your foot, and movement becomes pain-free once again. This may take a few weeks depending on the severity of your injury, but by following these guidelines and consulting your podiatrist, you can ensure that you will be back to your previous activities quickly and without complications.