Ankle sprain is one of the leading causes of ankle pain in the general population and is particularly common in people active in sports and dancing. Most ankle sprains occur after an accidental twisting inversion of the ankle joint. This may injure or tear the outer ankle ligaments (anterior talofibular ligament and posterior talofibular ligament) leading to pain and swelling around the ankle joint. Fortunately, most patients who sustained ankle sprains recover after a few weeks and can continue their usual activities.
The recommended initial ankle sprain treatment in Singapore is RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and is effective in relieving pain and swelling in most cases and preventing further injuries to the ankle in the first 24-48 hours.
What are the grades or classifications of an ankle sprain?
There are different classifications of an ankle sprain, such as:
Mild (Grade 1): This classification is mainly characterised by slight stretching and some damage to the ligament fibres. Mild tenderness and swelling in the ankle are felt, walking with minimal pain is still possible.
Moderate (Grade 2): When a person has a grade 2 ankle sprain, partial ligament tearing has occurred. In this classification, one can experience moderate tenderness and swelling around the ankle. Walking is painful and slight instability is present when examined.
Severe (Grade 3): A person with a grade 3 ankle sprain has an ankle ligament that is completely torn with severe tenderness, bruising, and swelling around the ankle. Walking is likely not possible because the ankle gives out and there is intense pain.
What are the symptoms of an ankle sprain?
Symptoms of an ankle sprain vary depending on how severe the injury is. Common ones include:
pain while carrying out weight-bearing activities or even at rest.
bruising and swelling of the affected area
tenderness when touched
popping sound or sensation during the injury
What are the causes of ankle sprains?
An ankle sprain happens when the ankle joint is moved forcefully from its normal position, resulting in one or more ligaments in the ankle stretching, or tearing completely. When this happens, ankle surgery might be needed. Some of the most common causes of ankle sprains include:
a strong fall
engaging in sports activities
landing inappropriately on one’s foot after a jump or turn
walking on uneven surfaces
using or wearing inappropriate footwear
What are the risk factors?
People are vulnerable to ankle sprains when they are exposed to risk factors such as:
Poor conditioning before engaging in extreme or strenuous activities
Fatigue of the muscles and ligaments that are caused by overexerting oneself
Bearing excess weight
Previous ankle injuries or damage
What are the possible complications of an ankle sprain?
Some people who have sustained ankle sprains previously have a higher likelihood of developing complications. Reasons include failure to receive proper diagnosis and ankle treatments, participating in strenuous activities after spraining the ankle, and having repeated sprains on the same ankle.
When this happens, complications such as the following can occur:
Instability of the ankle joint
Chronic ankle pain
Arthritis in the ankle joint
How do you prevent yourself from having an ankle sprain?
While there are a wide range of ankle sprain treatments in Singapore available, prevention is still the best cure. To lower your risk of incurring an ankle sprain, try the following tips:
Warming up before engaging in any sports activities
Being extra careful when walking on uneven surfaces
Wearing appropriate footwear
Using an ankle support brace on an ankle sprain that is either weak or injured
Maintaining healthy muscle strength through exercise
Engaging in stability training
Resting your muscles and feet when they have been overexerted
How long does a sprained ankle take to heal?
The amount of time needed to recover from an ankle sprain depends on how serious the injury is. A minor sprain can take nearly two weeks to heal, while a serious or severe pain can take 6-12 weeks.
What should you do when you have an ankle sprain?
The recommended initial treatment is RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and is effective in relieving pain and swelling in most cases and preventing further injuries to the ankle in the first 24-48 hours.
When should you see an Orthopaedic specialist for your ankle sprain?
When your pain is severe and you are unable to put weight on the ankle and walk
If your ankle swelling persists and does not improve with RICE therapy
If you have repeated/recurrent ankle sprains with features of an unstable ankle such as it is ‘giving way’ frequently (Chronic ankle instability)
If a serious ankle sprain is left untreated, it can potentially lead to chronic ankle pain, instability, and arthritis of the ankle
How will our doctors evaluate you when you see them for ankle sprain?
We will obtain details on the mechanism of your injury
We will thoroughly examine the ankle to determine the severity and extent of injury
X-rays will be performed to exclude fractures
If your pain has been persistent for 4-6 weeks and you have features of chronic ankle instability such as an ankle that ‘gives way on uneven ground, we may order an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan of the ankle further evaluation
We may provide you with recovery aids such as splints and ankle braces
We may refer you to a physiotherapist in our team, to teach you physical therapy to strengthen the ligaments and muscles around your ankle, restore range of motion, improve balance and proprioception to reduce the risk of further sprains
Call us to evaluate you if you have an ankle sprain!
When is surgery indicated?
Fortunately, most patients improve with non-surgical ankle treatment. Only a selected group of patients may require surgery and they usually have already attempted non-surgical treatment without satisfactory improvement.
Patients who may need ankle sprain surgery in Singapore may have:
Chronic ankle instability with multiple and recurrent ankle sprains despite physiotherapy and wearing of splints and braces, and with MRI evidence of ligamentous injury/tears
Chronic debilitating ankle pain with locking sensation and MRI evidence of osteochondral injury(cartilage defect) of the talus and loose bodies in the ankle joint
Call us to evaluate if you may need an ankle surgery in Singapore!
What surgeries does Axis Orthopaedic Centre offer for ankle sprains?
Our orthopaedic specialists are well trained and competent in performing surgeries of the ankle with excellent outcomes.
MIS(Minimally invasive surgery) with ankle arthroscopy has the advantage of visualizing the ankle joint via keyhole incisions. During the procedure:
Scar tissue and loose bodies in the ankle joint can be removed (to relieve locking symptoms and impingement)
Small osteochondral injuries to the talus can be treated via microfracture with cartilage scaffold to stimulate healing
In addition, the outer ankle ligaments can be repaired/reinforced during the same procedure to achieve ankle stability
Mini open ankle ligament reconstruction/repair can be performed for revision cases with internal brace
Call us to discuss the optimal surgery for your ankle problem today!
Axis Orthopaedic Centre is committed to helping patients regain mobility in their daily routines. To do so, we offer ankle sprain surgery in Singapore, among other conservative ankle treatments, so as to address all kinds of ankle sprains. To find out more, call 9711 8888.