Every day thousands of people are involved in car accidents every day. Sprained ankles are a common injury in motor vehicle accidents. Most people unfortunately do not think to mention their ankle pain after the accident, concentrating only on their neck and back pains. Without knowledge of the ankle injury your healthcare provider cannot correct the problem, and that will likely lead to a life of future ankle and foot problems.
The ankle is a very complex joint designed to absorb massive amounts of force as you walk, run and jump. This absorption of forces helps to protect your knees, hips, and back. With just walking your ankles will absorb 125% of your bodyweight, while running they absorb approximately 250%-300% of your bodyweight.
Ankle sprain is an overstretching or tearing of one or more of the ligaments of the ankle/foot. Ligaments are very tough fibrous bands of connective tissue that help to hold bones in place, and keep them from moving too far. Most ankle sprains, approximately 95% are inversion sprains. An inversion sprain occurs when the foot rolls to outside with the toes pointing downward. This motion happens when your foot is on the brake or the floor board, while being rear-ended or hit from the side.
With the ankle injury it is very important that the ankle, as well as the other injuries, be evaluated by a healthcare specialist that is trained in the evaluation and treatment of auto accident and extremity injuries. Without a proper diagnosis it is impossible to have a proper treatment protocol for your injury.
Ankle sprains are placed in 3 categories, based on the severity of the injury. There are some clues that will tell you how severe the could be, such as a popping sound, rapid onset of swelling, and amount of bruising, but the severity is really only determined after an evaluation by a trained professional.
Grade 1 sprains are mild over stretching of one or more of the ligaments of the ankle. With these injuries you can usually still walk and run in a straight line without too much problem.
Grade 2 sprains are moderate to severe over stretching and possible mild tearing of the ligaments of the ankle. With this injury the person usually can walk but is unable to run and lateral motions are not possible in most cases.
Grade 3 sprains are moderate to full tearing of one or more of the ligaments in the ankle. With this injury the person generally cannot bear any weight without bracing.
Grade 1 and 2 sprains can be treated with manual manipulation of the affected joints of the ankle and a thorough rehabilitative exercise program. These injuries usually heal very quickly if treated properly.
Grade 3 sprains will often times require an evaluation by an orthopedic specialist. These will often be required to be casted and on occasion have a surgical procedure. After this they too will require a proper rehabilitation program.