With summer just around the corner, people are getting their hiking gear ready so they can hit the trails. But there's nothing worse than going on your first hike of the season only to suffer an ankle sprain. Ankle sprains can be pretty painful and can cause you to miss out on a good portion of the hiking season. So before you head out on a hike, make sure you're prepared to avoid or treat an ankle sprain.
Causes and Symptoms
Ankle sprains can be caused by a number of events. Over 80% of ankle sprains occur when the ankle experiences inward rolling. When this inversion happens, the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn. This can happen when someone trips, gets their foot caught on a branch, or does anything that causes the ankle to roll beyond its normal range of motion.
When an ankle is sprained, it will be painful and tender -- most sprained ankles can barely be walked on. Additionally, some ankle sprains may make a "pop" noise when the sprain occurs. Sprained ankles will usually swell and bruise, which is a sure sign something is wrong. But while ankle sprains can certainly be painful, they usually heal pretty quickly with the right treatment.
Prevention and Treatment
Accidents do happen and ankle sprains may not always be preventable. However, if you're going outside, always make sure you're wearing the appropriate footwear. Especially if you're going hiking, make sure you have shoes that provide plenty of support. Additionally, always warm up before going hiking and consider strengthening your leg muscles to reduce the risk of a sprain occurring.
If you do think you've sprained your ankle, you should consider seeking emergency care. Emergency medical clinics have the tools to treat almost any injury. Because ankle sprains could turn out to be something more serious, like a fracture, looking into emergency medical clinics nearby should be on the top of your to-do list after you get hurt. At a clinic, they'll check out your ankle, make sure it is just a sprain, and tell you to get plenty of rest. Ankle sprains heal on their own with rest, ice, and elevation. But it's always a good idea to seek medical attention for any type of injury.
Hopefully, this article provided some insight into ankle sprains. While not life-threatening, ankle sprains can be painful and an inconvenience, so they should be prevented whenever possible.