Ankle ligament injuries, also known as ankle sprains, can be caused by a sudden twisting movement of the foot. It is one of the most common orthopedic injuries. The injury can range from mild to severe, depending on the condition of the injured ligament and the number of ligaments involved.
Pain is the most common symptom of an ankle ligament injury and can be associated with swelling and bruising. Sometimes, the joint may develop stiffness associated with difficulty walking. The symptoms of ankle ligament injury depend on the severity of the injury which correlates with the extent of damage to the ligaments.
A complete physical examination by the physician will determine the extent and nature of the injury. X-rays may be needed to confirm the severity of the injury and rule out the possibility of a fracture. In severe cases, a MRI may also be ordered.
Ankle ligament injuries need immediate medical attention, as if left untreated, they may cause chronic ankle instability. Conservative as well as surgical treatment may be used for the management of ankle ligament injuries.
Conservative treatment includes RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and medications. RICE therapy reduces pain and swelling. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NASAIDs) medications may be recommended for the management of pain and inflammation.
Surgery is not commonly recommended for the management of ankle sprains. However, if conservative treatment fails to provide any relief of symtoms, surgery may be required. Surgery is recommended for ankle joint instability persisting despite rehabilitation.