The warm and sunny weather is spreading all throughout the southland and what a better time to go back to nature than with a glorious hike at El Dorado Park or Smugglers Cove. We are excited too! But before you put on your backpack and lace up your hiking boots, make sure you are ready to treat and avoid foot and ankle sprains. Today we will help you learn about the possible injuries you can try and prevent while you enjoy the best trails of the summer.
Foot and ankle sprains can be painful and stiffen your lower limbs, making it difficult to move or walk. A sprain is an excessive stretch or tear of a ligament, connecting tissue of the bones. Ligaments stabilize and support all of the body’s joints. Most of the time sprains occur when you are shifting movement on a planted foot when the foot suddenly rolls inward or outward.
In a mild sprain, a ligament in the ankle may feel stretched, and only the joint remains stable. A moderate sprain is a partial tear of a ligament that causes slight instability in the joint. The last degree is a severe sprain where a ligament tears completely or separates from the bone. The higher degree of the sprain, is the more likely your joint functions will be interfered with and possibly fail. Pain intensity varies from person to person, but all sprains commonly experience pain, swelling, bruising and inflammation.
Treating Ankle Sprains
There are many instances where a person suffers a significant fall or roll of the ankle, but there are a few signs that indicate an ankle sprain. An audible pop, followed by pain, tenderness and rapid swelling are the first signs of a sprain. In all mild sprains, conservative measures of rest, ice, compression and elevation should be applied until the pain diminishes.
Nevertheless, severe sprains require you to immobilize the ankle and you should advise a foot and ankle doctor to perform a proper diagnosis. As per the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, if you are unable to bear weight after a sprain occurs, as well as significant swelling and deformity, then seek medical treatment. The more severe the pain may be the indicator for special treatment, surgery and rehabilitation.
Preventing Ankle Sprains
Not everyone is immune to sprains, but there are many habits and tips every hiker needs to follow:
- Stretch the body every day
- Hike only during sunlight hours to avoid tripping
- Be sure to only step on sturdy ground before placing body weight down
- Avoid stepping on debris, tree roots or uneven ground
- Wear shoes that fit properly, especially high-top shoes that reach above the ankle
Remember to adopt these steps to assist in keeping your ankles strong while hiking. If you experience a foot and ankle sprain, then remember to rest for a short while and gingerly put your weight on the affected foot until you can rest and stretch at home. Moderate and severe ankle sprains may require a specialist’s diagnosis in order to determine the proper treatment. Call a foot and ankle specialist immediately for any serious injuries.