Ankle strains and ankle sprains, though different injuries, have very similar traits. Let’s look at what distinguishes them from one another, what their causes and symptoms are, and how you protect the health of your feet and ankles.
WHAT ARE STRAINS & SPRAINS?
Though the words strain and sprain are often used interchangeably, they are actually two different injuries to the ankle. This is a semantics issue, and there is some controversy as to proper terminology. Just make sure you and your doctor are on the same page!
An ankle sprain affects the ligaments in the foot that hold the bones of the foot and the leg together. Ligaments are connective tissue bands that hold bone to bone; they act as check reins normally.
A sprain most commonly occurs from an unnatural twist to the ankle, which can cause the ligaments to tear or stretch.
Rolling your ankle, twisting it when walking or exercising, or overexerting your foot during physical activity can also cause a sprain. Normally, the anterior talofibular ligament is sprained (ATFL).
When you sprain your ankle, you may notice bruising, swelling, or pain in the area that the sprain occurred.
This is sometimes accompanied by a popping sound or sensation within the ligament, and the sensitivity of the sprain can lead to difficult mobility. Functional instability is the normal outcome of such a problem.
An ankle strain can be caused by a single traumatic incident like a fall or a twist to the ankle, but they can also be chronic in formation – meaning that they form due to consistent overuse. The strain results from the overstretching or tearing of the muscles and tendons.
This is especially common in athletes due to the regularity of impact they experience on the joints.
Strains normally happen to tendons which connect a muscle to bone. These are more dynamic than ligaments and (usually) have more elastic properties. Many people strain the peroneal tendons or the Achilles tendon.
Ankle strains, like sprains, can cause inflammation, moderate to severe pain, and limited motion at the site of injury. This can also cause the ankle to no longer be weight-bearing, leading to complete immobility. Due to the injury to the muscles in the ankle, you may experience muscle spasms or cramps in your feet and lower legs.
HOW CAN YOU RECOVER FROM ANKLE INJURIES?
One of the best at-home therapies for a sprain or strain is one you’ve probably heard many times before: the RICE method.
This stands for:
Following an ankle injury, the injured muscles and ligaments require time to rest and recuperate. Applying ice, wearing a compression sock, and sitting with your injured foot elevated can help to keep inflammation low. In addition, over the counter pain medication can help with soreness and inflammation.
Basically, you are simply assisting your body during its normal recovery and healing process.
It is important to be observant of your injury, however -
If your pain and swelling do not subside in a few days, or if you have any difficulty walking, consult your personal physician as soon as possible to prevent further progression of your injury. Obviously, if you are unable to bear weight or the pain is excruciating, seek help as well.
FIND ACTIVE PAIN RELIEF WITH THE HEALING SOLE
Once you have healed from an ankle strain or sprain, it is still important to take care of the health of your feet and ankles. The Healing Sole helps to offload stress from the feet and lower legs to prevent pain as you walk!
If you have sprained or strained your ankle, make sure you have regained your balance ability prior to using our device.
Begin by slowly breaking in our flip flops so that they can adjust to your individual foot type and walking pattern.
Your muscles will also adjust to the firm sole of the flip flop, the rocker bottom, and the active muscle engagement that you may not be used to experiencing.
This break-in process takes 7-14 days, which you can learn more about here.
Once broken in, you can wear these flip flops all day or alternate with another pair of supportive footwear to keep your feet happy and healthy.
In addition to our footwear, our Well Theory products can help you to fight pain and inflammation from the inside out.
Choose our Essential PEA multivitamin or our Tart Cherry Supplements to keep pain and inflammation levels throughout the body low, or use our Pain Relief Foot Cream to alleviate symptoms on the go. Pair any and all of these products with our footwear for optimal relief.
Order today to promote healthy feet, optimal ways of walking, and a pain-free lifestyle!