- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Torn Ligament in my Ankle
My Torn Ligament
Take a look at the picture to the right, now imagine that awkward angle happening while going down the stairs. That is pretty much what happened to me about 3 and a half weeks ago. I am still getting swelling and have a bruise under my foot, in the arch. Not to mention the bruising around the joint in the ankle.
When it originally happened I decided to call an ambulance as I thought there might be a break. I was advised that there was not likely any break but it could be a torn ligament. The advice was that there would be a long wait at the hospital and if there was no break there would be little they could do and then I would have to make my way home on a foot that could not take any weight. The advice was that I should give it a few days and if it was not healing then go to the hospital, I could call for another ambulance if need be.
I took the advice given and stayed home, kept off the foot as much as I could and waited to see if it would heal. There was very little healing after three days and as I had family visiting with a car I asked if they would take me to the hospital. It was very helpful having a ride both to the hospital but also to get back home after. The hospital x-rayed my ankle and found no break. I was told that I had probably torn the ligament but that they did not have the technology to asses the damage to the ligament.
I went home with no more information then I could have found online, and I have found much more online since. After a week had passed I could just about walk and so had to walk to the doctors office (family with a car was back home by then) so that I could get a doctors note for work. The doctor took one look at my ankle and wrote me a note for two weeks (taking me up to the work holidays, no pay over the holiday this year for me). I think the walking brought out the bruise and swelling worse then I had seen it before.
My faith in the medical system has not been strengthened by this experience but I have been educating myself instead. I would like to share what I have learned with you since it seems likely to me that you may well be in a similar situation to my own.
How to tell the difference between a broken ankle and a sprain
As I shared above that one look by the paramedics from the ambulance indicated that there was no break and proved to be right after having an x-ray. A torn ligament can be exceptionally painful and can take a long time to heal, the paramedics even said that a torn ligament can take longer to heal then a break.
One of the signs that I had not broken a bone was the minimal motion I had in my toes and other joints. Swelling and general pain made movement difficult but possible, immediately after the fall I had much more of a range of motion actually.
The next sign that I had not suffered a break was the lack of bruising. I got pretty swollen but did not have much by way of bruising for over a week. If memory serves I was told that the ice should bring out the bruises that would indicate a break. Ice will also not cool the area if there is a break, to the touch the area can still be warm or hot after ice has been applied.
Pain is not always the best indicator as sometimes people can break a bone and not actually feel the sort of pain associated with a break. If you do have excruciating and constant pain chances are you have a break. If the pain is reactionary there can still be a chance that you have a fracture.
A funny looking angle will usually be an indication of a break. The thing about a break is that it is possible to miss if there is little pain involved, stories of people suffering a broken bone and not realizing it for a few days are quite common. If for any reason you suspect you may have a break getting yourself to a hospital where they can x-ray it is a must. You may want to call a family member or friend about a ride home when you are finished.
The 3 Grades of Sprains
The first is a grade 1 sprain or a mild sprain. With this injury there is some stretching and some damage to the fibers of the ligament.
The second is a grade 2 sprain or moderate sprain. This injury involves a partial tearing of the ligament. With this injury there can be an abnormal looseness or laxity of the joint,
The last is a grade 3 sprain or sever sprain. This injury involves the complete tear of the ligament there is gross instability in the joint.
If you think you have a Torn Ligament
If you think you have torn a ligament your first action should be rest, ice, compression and elevation or R.I.C.E. Ice will help reduce swelling and should be applied in 10 to 15 minute cycles. Keeping ice on an ankle or knee or anywhere else may cause cold injuries and I have even been advised to alternate ice and heat such as a hot water bottle. The reason for using the heat is to draw the blood to the wound since a wound needs blood to heal. I think the reason this is not medically advised is because of the swelling problem and I would only suggest it because it is the method I used as my foot got very icy and cold very quickly (I suspect it was not getting good circulation and the warmth felt good). Keep your foot rested and elevated and as you feel comfortable with it remove wrappings when inactive as you want to allow blood circulation.
As you are healing you will want to stretch and move the joint as this will keep the area from getting stiff and weak with inactivity. If your tear is a bad one and heals slowly you may want to sign up here at Hub Pages as it has kept me occupied and kept me from going stir crazy! On a serious note if your injury is a bad one you will need patience and to give it lots of rest and the chance to heal.