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Children’s Sports Injuries: Ankle Sprains

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A rolled or twisted ankle is not uncommon in many sports, especially ones with high-impact or contact. Many times, the momentary pain can go away in a matter of a few seconds, while other times, it can leave your child with immense pain and swelling. In scenarios of severe pain after a turn, roll, or twist that is too fast, too far, or at a steep angle, it is most likely due to a sprain. When ligaments that connect the ankle and leg bones are stretched too much or torn, it’s called a sprain.

Types and Grades of Sprains

  • Inversion or Lateral Ligament Sprain: This is when the ankle rolls out and the bottom of the foot faces inward and upward. The outer ligaments of the ankle are damaged.
  • Eversion or Medial Ligament Sprain: This is when the ankle rolls inward and the bottom of the foot faces outward. This type of injury to the ligaments on the inside of the ankle are very rare.
  • Chronic Sprains: If a sprain is reinjured repeatedly in a 4 to 6 week period, it can be categorized as chronic sprain. When the sprain does not heal during this time, symptoms can flare up when the ankle is engaged with rolling or twisting movement.
  1. Grade 1 Sprain is when the ligament is overstretched.
  2. Grade 2 Sprain is when the ligament is partially torn.
  3. Grade 3 Sprain is when the ligament is completely torn.

Symptoms and Treatment

If your child has a sprain injury, you may see the following symptoms: pain, swollen ankle, and inability to bear weight or use the ankles.

If symptoms seem mild, as with a grade 1 sprain, you can try to treat the sprained ankle at home. Home treatment would include the RICE method: Rest (stay off the ankle), Ice (for 20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling and pain), Compression (Use a wrap or compression sleeve to reduce swelling), Elevation (prop the ankle on pillows to be as close to heart level as possible when sitting or lying down). Anti-inflammatory medications can be taken if necessary.

However, if your child’s sprain seems to get worse, or if he or she is experiencing severe pain and cannot bear weight on the ankle, you should call our podiatrist right away. Our podiatrist may recommend the use of crutches, immobilization with a split or a walking cast, depending on how bad the injury is.

If your child has a severely sprained ankle, make an appointment today at Clark Podiatry Center. Our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brandon Macy can find the best treatment option for your child’s recovery. We are located in Clark, NJ in Union County and our team is ready to help! We keep you walking.